On Thursday, the 3,800 dwt container ship Isla Bartolomé ran aground on a sand bank near Posorja, Ecuador, on the navigation channel leading to Guayaquil.
At the time of the incident, the Bartolomé was headed outbound for the Galapagos Islands with a load of perishable food and other supplies. After going aground she took on a severe list to starboard. Ecuadorian media report that local shrimp boats rescued the Bartolomé's crew, and no injuries were reported.
The Provincial Emergency Operations Committee (COE) is coordinating the emergency response, and tugs were dispatched to the scene to assist. The Ecuadorian Navy said in a statement that a light sheen of diesel was spotted on the surface, but "the liquid . . . will evaporate and is believed not to cause damage to the environment."
The local government in the Galapagos has requested Ecuador's Ministry of Transport to declare a state of emergency for the islands. The Ecuadorian Air Force has begun an airlift to ensure that there are no food shortages, and in order to guard against speculation, the government intends to supervize retail pricing until the supply situation is normalized.
The Bartolomé is owned and operated by Ecuador's state shipping company, Transnave, and she is one of three vessels on a rotation to the Galapagos. According to Transnave, container service to the islands only began in 2015; before that, all goods were shipped as breakbulk cargo.