Ecuador - Galapagos Islands Oil Spill OCHA Situation Report No. 2
OCHA Situation Report No. 2
Oil Spill - Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
8 February 2001
THE SITUATION IS LARGELY UNDER CONTROL
CLEAN UP AND MONITORING ACTIVITIES CONTINUE
MEDIUM- TO LONG-TERM ASSISTANCE REQUIRED
1. On 17 January 2001 the 'Jessica', an Ecuadorian-registered ship, ran aground on San Cristobal Island, part of the Galapagos Islands archipelago, 1000 km off the coast of Ecuador.
2. The spilled oil has reached the shore in many areas and impacted a variety of aquatic and shoreline birds and animals for which the ecologically rich Galapagos Islands are internationally known.
3. The Government of Ecuador considered the situation as a severe environmental emergency. On 21 January, the Government made an international appeal for assistance in responding and mitigating the environmental impacts from the spill.
4. Since the onset of the emergency, the Government of Ecuador -through the Ministry of Environment- has established an emergency coordination mechanism which includes the following components: scientific and technical issues, communications and information, logistics support and coordination of international assistance. The work has been focused on 1) evacuation of the remaining fuel from the tanker, and 2) minimizing the impacts of the oil spill.
5. An 11-person strike team from the US Coast Guard, including 1 oil spill expert, arrived on 21 January with specialized equipment including boom, floating nets, skimming equipment and high capacity pumps. A significant amount of the spilled oil has been recovered in spite of the rough sea conditions.
6. USAID/BHR/OFDA has contributed towards humanitarian relief efforts in Ecuador associated with the oil spill (e.g. to assist non-commercial fishermen whose livelihoods have been affected).
7. The Government of Canada has contributed financial aid, and a Canadian oil industry expert has been on scene providing clean up advice. He is continuing to reside on scene in order to develop a monitoring plan. The Canadian authorities have also offered to Ecuador other types of expertise, analysis and scientific advice.
8. The Government of the United Kingdom has provided financial assistance in connection with the oil spill response.
9. The German authorities have sent two experts to the accident site.
10. Following a request from the Ecuadorian authorities, the European Commission has dispatched three experts of the European Task Force dealing with accidental marine pollution. The three experts, from Spain, France and the United Kingdom, are specialists in operational, technical and biodiversity aspects of marine pollution. They have helped the Ecuadorian authorities to define the best means of minimizing the impact of the pollution and to ensure the recovery of affected areas of the Galapagos Islands. Based on the experts' assessment of the situation further EU action and financing will be decided.
11. UNDP Ecuador is to release two projects in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment: the first, with funding from GEF, is focused on enhancing contingency and preventative plans against similar future incidents; while the second, funded by UNV, is directed towards the support of volunteers engaged in clean-up activities as well as the establishment of stand-by volunteer services on the islands.
12. UNESCO has released an emergency assistance contribution to support various activities in Galapagos clean-up operation.
13. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has made an emergency contribution to help fund clean-up efforts on the Galapagos Islands in the wake of the oil spill. It has also announced it was setting up a special Galapagos Emergency Response Center to monitor the clean up and help mobilize the financial and technical resources necessary to mitigate the long-term damage. The WWF coordinator on Galapagos has been asked to coordinate the wildlife recovery activities within the Galapagos National Park. WWF medium-term activities would include:
- maximizing wildlife recovery from the oil spill and ensuring that measures are taken to prevent and respond to any future oil spill;
- providing technical support to improve the implementation of the Galapagos Special Law;
- promoting international support for effective conservation of the Galapagos ecoregion;
- supporting the Government of Ecuador in taking legal action in connection with the oil spill.
14. Cash contributions, as reported to OCHA, include the following:
Canada: CAD 100,000
United Kingdom: GBP 50,000
UNESCO: USD 50,000
USAID/BHR/OFDA: USD 225,000
World Wildlife Fund: USD 100,000
UNDP / GEF: USD 500,000
UNDP /UNV: USD 22,000
15. As the spilled diesel and bunker fuel is drifting through the archipelago and washing up on the shores of the islands, the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS) and the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) are working, in collaboration with national and local authorities, and local residents, to prevent environmental damage by cleaning up the oil that is approaching sensitive coastal areas. The clean up work may continue for a few months, depending on the eventual distribution and scale of pollution on the coastline, and will require large amounts of special materials and equipment. It will also require temporary storage sites and eventual shipping to the mainland for disposal or recycling.
16. This labour-intensive effort is guided by technical work of the CDRS and GNPS, with specialist assistance. This comprises aerial surveys to detect the outer limits of the pollution and then to look for specific patches of bunker. The aerial surveys are backed up by marine surveys. Another important task is the rescue and rehabilitation of seabirds, sea lions and other wildlife affected by the oil. Furthermore rapid biological surveys have been carried out in high-risk sites to obtain a baseline before the pollution hits.
17. The Ministry of Environment of Ecuador has mobilized important resources for clean-up operations and for mitigation impact of the spill.
18. Once the spill itself is over and all the bunker fuel and diesel is either on shore or beyond the archipelago, a systematic survey will be carried out to map the affected areas and decide which need cleaning up. Biological impacts will be evaluated in the affected areas - this will be a very intensive scientific task - and sites will be selected for monitoring over the coming 2-3 years. These include both polluted sites and control sites for comparison.
19. To provide administrative and logistical support for this effort and for the long period of monitoring that follows, the Charles Darwin Foundation will set up and equip a special support team and contract procurement and shipping agencies, as needed.
REQUIREMENTS FOR FINANCIAL SUPPORT
20. The Government of Ecuador, through the Ministry of the Environment, has incurred important expenditures in order to mobilize emergency equipment and expert support to act immediately in this environmental crisis. Donor support is needed to cover some of these costs which amount to over USD 1 million.
Period February - April 2001
21. In addition to technical assistance already provided from various sources, the GNPS and CDRS require approximately USD 860,000. This would cover, in particular, costs of expertise and assessment, special clean-up and laboratory supplies and equipment, supplies for animal rescue and rehabilitation, fuel, boat charters, purchase of two boats and outboard engines, air transport, telecommunications, and related services and miscellaneous equipment.
Period May 2001 - April 2003
22. After the first phase of intensive clean-up and evaluation of impacts, comes the extended period of monitoring the recovery of sites and of wildlife. Meanwhile, complementary work will be done on improving the regulatory framework to prevent environmental disasters. Contingency plans will be prepared for future incidents and the trained personnel, facilities, equipment, networks of contacts and financing mechanisms will be put in place, so that Galapagos is fully prepared for emergencies. For these purposes, the estimated requirements are USD 1,500,000.
23. The above requirements do not cover other costs, already incurred and projected, by other Ecuadorian governmental agencies and other organizations.
24. Interested donors may wish to contact directly the GNPS email: email@example.com and CDRS email: firstname.lastname@example.org , or UNDP Office in Quito, Ave. Amazonas 2889 y La Granja Edificio Naciones Unidas, Tel. +593 2 460 330 / 332, Fax +593 2 461 960 / 961, E-mail: email@example.com. They may also wish to contact the Ministry of Environment email: firstname.lastname@example.org
25. The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit will continue to closely monitor the situation through its established international network, and will provide updates as necessary.
Telephone: +41-22-917 1234
In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-9172010
Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, Disaster
Response Branch: Mr. Vladimir Sakharov, Chief of Unit / Ms. Patricia Charlebois,
Direct tel: +41 22 917 11 42 / +41 22 917 18 15
Direct fax +41 22 917 02 57
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.