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wrecked tanker image

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On January 16, 2001, the oil tanker Jessica ran aground on a reef to the southwest of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal Island just outside the unfortunately named Wreck Bay. The tanker spilled most of its 240,000 gallons of bunker oil used by tour boats in the Galapagos. The event made headlines around the world and was feared to be a major disaster on the scale of the Exxon Valdez. However, there were no human fatalities and by unbelievably good fortune the slick was quickly blown offshore (see satellite image and map) and dissipated within a few months. Only a handful of seabirds were killed, although workers spent weeks cleaning oil off affected animals.

Image reproduced with permission © Charles Darwin Research Station, 2001.

Satellite image of oil slick

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