March 18, 2010
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuadorean officials say 16 Canadian tourists and eight Ecuadorean crew members have been rescued from a yacht that ran aground in the Galapagos Islands.
The country’s national park service says all of those aboard the 140-foot (46 meter) Alta are safe. But it says it will hold the operator responsible for any damage to the region’s environment.
It says the vessel ran aground on Wednesday evening on the ISLOTE CAMANO and that rough seas prevented the yacht’s recovery or removal of the fuel aboard.
The ship is operated by Florida-based Quasar Expeditions. A phone call to the company was not immediately returned on Thursday. Officials have not released the identities of the passengers.
Incident involving the M/S Alta
Quasar Expeditions’ Official Second Release
March 22, 2010
Passenger & Safety
All 16 passengers who were onboard the Alta during Wednesday’s incident have safely returned to Canada.
On Saturday, March 20th, all of the fuel on Alta’s tanks was emptied. The yacht’s fuel tanks, which are located on the bow of the yacht, did not suffer any damage. The grounding of the Alta compromised the mid hull section, thus, there was never a fuel spill during the grounding up until the tanks were emptied.
Alta’s Current Condition
At this moment Alta continues to be grounded at Camaño Islet. The yacht’s hull and engines are very heavy, thus, it has been impossible to try and pull the yacht away from the islet with the Coast Guard ship. Representatives of the Insurance Company arrived to the Islands on Friday, March 19, to assess the situation, and after visiting the grounding spot and looking into the possible alternatives to pull the Alta away from the islet, they have decided that they will do this by lifting the hull from the rocks with special floatation devices. These devices have to be brought from Panama, which means the yacht will not be pulled out of Camaño Islet for another couple of weeks. Once pulled out, the specialists from the insurance company will determine the extent of the damage and take pertinent actions.
Quasar Nautica Expeditions M/S Alta Statistics
Type of Vessel: Three-Masted Staysail Schooner
Capacity: 16 passengers, 8 crew plus 1 naturalist guide
Length: 46 meters (140 feet)
Beam: 6.8 meters (21 feet)
Draft: 3.4 meters (10.5 feet)
Builder: Titleness, Norway
M/S Alta was certified to operate by numerous overarching national and international regulations which include the Galapagos National Park, DIGMER and ISM (International, Classification Society and Port State Inspections etc.).
Hull and Machinery Insurance: Marsh Ltd. London, England
Protection and Indemnity: Shipowners: Luxembourg
DIGMER – Galapagos Registration No. TN-01-00100
M/S Alta received its full inspections and certifications, which included a Conditions Survey, required by Insurers Marsh Ltd. and Shipowners, as well as all inspections and certifications required by DIGMER (Ecuador’s Marine Merchant Entity).
Quasar Nautica Expeditions Update, March 22, 2010 11h00 GMT