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23 Dec, 2019 06:02

Barge with 2 TONS of diesel fuel on board sinks off Galapagos Islands, triggering environmental emergency (VIDEO)

Barge with 2 TONS of diesel fuel on board sinks off Galapagos Islands, triggering environmental emergency (VIDEO)

A barge carrying 600 gallons of diesel fuel sank near the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, causing a massive spill off the islands chain’s coast and sparking a frantic effort by the authorities to prevent the fuel from spreading.

The incident occurred at a port on San Cristobal island, and saw a barge going underwater after a crane, which was about to load a container with a diesel generator onto the boat, came crashing down. The impact from the collapse tilted the barge, causing it to capsize along with its precarious cargo. One person was injured in the incident.

"A fuel spill was observed, and the barge's crew jumped into the sea to safeguard their lives," Ecuador’s Integrated Security Service, ECU-911, reported.

Amid fears that the pristine waters off Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, might be contaminated forever, the Ecuadorian government put “emergency protocols” in place, tasking its Army and Navy with coordinating the operation to stop the spillage. Containment barriers were set up and absorbent materials were scattered around the affected area, with the authorities eventually succeeding in getting the spillage under control.

"The situation is under control, and a series of actions have been deployed to mitigate the possible effects," Ecuador’s presidential office said Sunday.

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The generator, which sank along with the crane and the barge, was intended for Isabela Island, the largest island of the Galapagos, which has largely relied on diesel generators for electricity supply. However, local authorities have already assured the public that the mishap would not affect life on the island.

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