An Ecuador-flagged cargo ship has been successfully refloated and scuttled after running aground earlier this year in the Galápagos Islands.
The salvage and scuttling was carried out by the U.S.-based salvage firm T&T Salvage, which ensured that all fuel, oil and other pollutants were removed from the vessel prior to being refloated.
The ship, the MV Floreana, ran aground on January 28th off the coast of San Cristóbal, the easternmost island in the Galápagos archipelago, shortly after departing San Cristóbal for Santa Cruz and other islands. The vessel was reportedly carring some 1,400 tons of cargo and about 13,000 gallons of fuel when it became stranded, forcing authorities to declare a state of emergency for the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
According to T&T Salvage, the Floreana was refloated on April 4 and towed outside the boundaries of the Galápagos Marine Reserve where it was scuttled in over 3,000 feet of water two days later.
T&T Salvage said that the wreck removal included repairing the hull, sealing the damaged engine room and ballast tanks, and removing cargo from the flooded holds. All pollutants were removed, including draining all fuel and hydraulic lines, prior to pumping water from the flooded ship to a receiving barge to ensure no environmental damage.
The T&T Salvage team included veteran Salvage Master Ted Hosking, Jim Elliott, a former USCG COTP and Certified Type-1 Incident Commander, plus project managers, naval architects, salvage engineers, and technicians. Throughout the salvage operation, T&T Salvage worked closely with the governments of the Galápagos and Ecuador to achieve both safety and environmental objectives.
The MV Floreana was the third ship to run aground in the Galápagos in just 12 months, according to the Galápagos Conservancy.
Above photos courtesy T&T Salvage