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Ecuador declares Galapagos Islands environmental emergency over stricken diesel fuel tanker

Environmental Minister Lorena Tapia frees resources to remove beached ship and mitigate impact in the face of “possible environmental damage that could unleash a disaster”

Ecuador has declared an environmental emergency in the Galapagos Islands after the freighter Galapaface I ran aground last week.

Environmental Minister Lorena Tapia’s notice on Thusday night will free up resources to remove the ship and mitigate its impact in the face of “possible environmental damage that could unleash a disaster” said the directorate of the Galapagos National Park.

The vessel, which ran aground off the Baquerizo Moreno port on the island of San Cristobal, was carrying 19,000 gallons of fuel that has already been removed.

But highly polluting motor oil and cleaning products remain in the ship’s airtight holds and are yet to leak out.

At the request of the Galapagos authorities, Ecuador’s Environmental Minister Lorena Tapia issued the environmental emergency on Thursday night.

The Galapagos Islands, which are located in the Pacific Ocean around 620 miles off the coast of Ecuador, are classified as a Unesco world heritage site.

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