By Cailey Rizzo
December 23, 2019
Advertisement

A 600-gallon oil spill off the coast of the Galapagos Islands said to be "under control" after a cargo vessel overturned into the water on Sunday.

"The situation is under control, and a series of actions have been deployed to mitigate the possible effects," the Ecuadorean presidential communications office said in a statement, according to Agence France Presse.

The spill occurred early Sunday at a port on San Cristobal Island, the easternmost island in the chain. A crane was loading a large container of oil onto the deck of a ship when it lost control. It fell onto the ship and tipped into the water. Crew aboard the ship were forced to jump off as the ship capsized. No injuries were reported.

Ecuador activated a state of emergency to clean up the spill before it spread. The Galapagos National Park authority set up containment barriers and oil absorbent cloths around the spill to “reduce the environmental risk,” they said.

The exact same barge, which is used to transport fuel and construction materials to and from the island, sunk at a different port in February 2018 “after the vessel was destabilized,” according to German news site DW.

A tortoise in the Galapagos Islands.
Getty Images

Galapagos minister Norman Wray said the barge will be replaced “as soon as possible.”

The historic islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site for their biodiversity, which helped Charles Darwin establish the theory of evolution.