Galapagos Freighter Accident Update
Adventure Life has been keeping in close contact with IGTOA (International Galapagos Tour Operators Association) for the most up-to-date news on the freighter accident in the Galapagos. We wanted to share the details in an effort to keep our travelers informed.
The incident occured on May 9th when the Galapaface 1 ran aground in a bay adjacent to San Cristobal Island. The freighter was carrying approximately 60,000 liters of fuel oil and 1,000 tons of cargo. Initially, the Galapagos National Park made a public statement that it posed no immediate threat to the environment or to wildlife in the area. However, on May 16th authorities released another statement saying that the fuel and most of the cargo had been removed from the ship but that other pollutants, like motor oil, remained and could possibly pose an environmental threat.
On May 19th, a state of emergency was declared so that resources could be allocated to removing the ship. According to IGTOA's sources, the hull of the ship is cracked and its engine room is flooded. A company based on the mainland has been hired to increase flotation of the vessel using buoys and hopefully tow it off the rocks.
Only two visitor sites, Cerro Tijeretas and Punta Carola, on San Cristobal have been closed because of the incident. Besides these two areas, all other Galapagos travel can continue as planned. Adventure Life's land-based tours and cruises that were scheduled to visit the two closed locations on San Cristobal will visit alternative sites on the island.
Fortunately, the situation is very stable without much resulting pollution. The authorities are doing everything in their power to clean up the accident scene and maintain the current stability. Our office will continue to monitor this situation and update travelers accordingly.