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NOAA PROVIDES OIL EXPERTISE IN GALAPAGOS ISLANDS SPILL

Tanker Jessica listingJanuary 23, 2001 (1:15 p.m. EST) — Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on Isla San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands — The tanker Jessica is currently listing greater than 45 degrees on it's starboard side. A U.S. support team, including U.S. Coast Guard response experts and a NOAA scientist, are assisting the Ecuadorian government in its response efforts. Most of the diesel fuel and intermediate fuel oil that was on board the Jessica has now been lost to the environment, according to NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration in Seattle, Wash.

(Click photo for larger view. All photos taken Jan. 21 and 22 by NOAA's Charlie Henry, scientific support coordinator in the Galapagos Islands. Please credit "NOAA.")

The Ecuador Military is in charge of the salvage operations. The Galapagos National Park is in charge of the cleanup. The Charles Darwin Research Station is providing scientific support to the national park.

Dead sea urchins were found on the beaches near the wreck and were removed to prevent birds from feeding on the dead urchins. NOAA's oil spill expert, Charlie Henry, is part of the U.S. team helping to develop response strategies to include enhancing dispersant application methodology and shoreline cleanup. A second NOAA scientist will be arriving on scene Wednesday. So far only minor shoreline impacts have been reported by late Monday.

Click images for larger view.
Jessica tanker listing Jessica tanker listing
Dead sea urchins
Dead Sea Urchins
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz

Sea lion pups
Sea Lion Pups

One of the biggest contributions NOAA is making to the response is providing technical experience and a realistic outlook of possible shoreline concerns. The Galapagos Islands are composed of shorelines not atypical of those NOAA has responded to in the past, but the unique wildlife, including many species found only in the Galapagos Islands, makes this response different.

Oil strandings were reported on Isla San Cristobal, Santa Fe, and Santa Cruz, but the actual extent of oiling is largely unknown. From an initial overflight, a field trip, and discussions with naturalists along the north shore of Isla San Cristobal, it appears that there are five main shoreline types: Exposed Rocky Shores, Exposed Rocky Platforms, Exposed Rocky Platforms with Gravel (cobble and boulder are common), Sand Beaches, and Fringing Mangroves.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration

U.S. Coast Guard National Strike Force


Media Contacts:
Connie Barclay, NOAA's National Ocean Service, (301) 713-3070 ext. 178 or Dan Dewell, U.S. Coast Guard, (202) 267-2304, cell (202) 493-9821