On Monday, some areas of the Galapagos Islands were under a state of emergency as crews battled to assess the damage of a potentially massive oil spill.
The spill happened off San Cristobal Island when a barge carrying 600 gallons of diesel fuel crashed with a crane at the La Predial pier on Sunday. The crane was filling a container onto the barge when it suddenly inclined over onto the barge that results in sinking the vessel.
Video from the incident showed crew workers jumping into the eastern Pacific Ocean for safety as the barge turned. Still, they could not stop the initial waters from being flooded with diesel.
San Cristobal Island is one of more than a dozen in the Galapagohich is habitat to rare wildlife species and one of the world’s most preserved natural destinations. The remote islands are approximately 600 miles away from Ecuador, the country that owns the islands.
Park and naval crews were on site of the incident on Monday, laying out containment barriers and absorbing cloths to contain the spill, but the amount of the damage done by the collision is unknown.
Lenín Moreno, the President of Ecuador, announced that he declared the state of emergency when the crash first occurred but said the situation was under control as of early Monday.
It was not directly clear how much oil had leaked out of the ship, and the country’s environmental ministry stated that it was evaluating the risk of pollution.
At least 14 islands form up the Galapagos National Park, and an exceptional 97% of the land is off-limits to the people. The park is a habitat by over 400 species of fish and an abundance of other unique wildlife.
In 1835, Charles Darwin’s five-week visit to the islands famously produced his theory of biological evolution. Till now, Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species,” published in 1859, is still regarded by many as one of the most prominent academic books in science.
Officials have requested an investigation into the incident.