Galapagos Oil Spill: Technical Report 30 Jan 2001
The Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS) continues to coordinate the clean up, monitoring and wildlife rescue operations throughout the archipelago. The GNPS press release gives the latest information on their activities.
The Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) continues to support the GNPS efforts. Today a team of CDRS scientists left Santa Cruz in the tour boat "Flamingo" for a detailed inspection of the southern shore of Isabela over the next three days. If they find any slicks or endangered wildlife, they will call in support personnel.
A team of CDRS marine biologists, who are working with Dr. Paul Kingston, an expert in oil spills, also left Santa Cruz last night aboard the tour boat "Nortada". During the next two days they will visit Isabela, Floreana, San Cristobal and Santa Fe. The biologists will take sediment cores on each island to measure the level of contamination in the different sites. They will also take samples of small animals (e.g. crustaceans) found in the sand. These cores and samples will be analyzed at Heriott Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Now that fewer slicks are being reported and the state of emergency seems to be declining, it is time to start planning the next steps. In the next weeks assessments will be made of the impacted sites. The contamination level of each site will be evaluated along with the sensitivity of each site (e.g. mangroves are considered highly sensitive whereas cliff areas are less sensitive.) Selected sites and species will be monitored over the long-term to check any changes in feeding habits or reproduction after the fuel spill.
A contingency plan in case of future emergencies is being developed by the GNPS with the support of all the local groups involved in the cleanup operation.