Galapagos: Oil Transfer Hits Hitch

Tuesday, January 23, 2001
The transfer of the remaining oil from the wrecked oil tanker Jessica, which has spilt about 160,000 gallons of oil into the fragile ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands, has run into difficulties, according to Lloyds agents. "The army tanker arrived yesterday but the transfer operation is not possible because they cannot place the vessel close enough," Reuters reported. "According to latest news, the (Jessica) is now turned 45 degrees," it said. "They will use special balloons and transfer the oil to these balloons." The report said only 40,000 gallons of oil remained on board the stranded tanker. It said the spill was affecting several bays of the Santa Fe, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal islands. The Galapagos Islands, 600 miles (1,000 km) west of Ecuador's coast in the Pacific Ocean, are home to hundreds of native species -- including giant tortoises and iguanas -- that evolved over thousands of years. The spill started on Friday, when a pipe burst in the machine room of the Ecuadorean-registered boat Jessica, which had ran aground three days before on an embankment near Galapagos' capital and principal port, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island.

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