MV Jessica

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The Jessica
The Jessica, shipwrecked in 2001
Career (Ecuador)
Name: Jessica
Owner: Acotramar
Fate: Ran aground, sunk
General characteristics

The Jessica was an oil tanker that was involved in an oil spill in the Galápagos Islands, a chain of islands 972 km (525 nmi) west of continental Ecuador, of which they are a part. The ship was registered in Ecuador and owned by Acotramar. On the evening of January 16, 2001, the Jessica ran aground at Wreck bay, at the entrance to the port of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Galápagos Province, located on the southwestern coast of San Cristóbal Island. The ship was carrying 600 tons (160,000 gallons) of diesel oil and 300 tons (80,000 gallons) of intermediate fuel oil. The diesel was destined for the fuel dispatch station on Baltra Island, while the fuel oil was destined for the tourist vessel Galapagos Explorer.

On January 20, the fuel oil began to spill from the Jessica. Recovery attempts began immediately, with the Ecuadorian Navy, the GNP, and local fishermen and volunteers containing and recovering the oil from the ocean surface. Oiled animals were attended to. On San Cristobal, seven sea lions and 17 birds (pelicans and blue-footed boobies) were affected by the fuel oil spill. On Santa Fe Island, a number of sea lions were affected.

Due to lack of equipment and conditions at sea, the containment measures failed, and slicks drifted with the wind. A small beach on the southern side of Santa Cruz Island, as well as Tortuga Bay, were affected. The U.S. Coast Guard assisted in recovering the fuel oil remaining aboard the ship. A total of 175,000 US gallons (660,000 L) of diesel and fuel oil spilled into the sea; this was one of the worst environmental disasters in the archipelago's history.

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