The dive boat “Albatroz” sinks off the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador

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Photo taken on Oct. 10, 2017 shows an adult sea lion hugging a lion cub on South Plaza Island, one of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. (Xinhua/Xu Rui)

A scuba dive boat sank off one of Ecuador’s environmentally sensitive Galapagos Islands on Saturday, but damage was minor and no one was injured, officials said.

The boat was carrying about 47 barrels of diesel fuel which left a “shallow” slick, the environment ministry said.

The sinking was first reported by state oil company Petroecuador, which did not say how much fuel was possibly spilled.

The Galapagos National Park has confirmed the sinking of the vessel called Albatroz and said it was being used for scuba diving trips in the waters off the islands, which are a protected natural heritage site.

Containment booms were set up around the crash area in an effort to control the spill, the company said.

The ship’s four crew members are safe and sound, he added.

The national park has suspended tourist activities around the town of Puerto Ayora, where its headquarters are located.

Located in the Pacific about 1,000 kilometers off the coast of Ecuador and famous for its giant tortoises, the Galapagos is a protected wildlife area and is home to unique species of flora and fauna.

The archipelago was made famous by British geologist and naturalist Charles Darwin’s observations on evolution.

The Galapagos Marine Reserve, in which industrial fishing is prohibited, is the second largest in the world. More than 2,900 marine species have been reported in the archipelago, which is a natural World Heritage Site.

In 2019, a barge carrying a small amount of diesel sank off another Galapagos island, San Cristobal, causing a small spill but the damage was insignificant.

AFP

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