QUITO, May 11 (Xinhua) -- A tourist boat caught fire and sank on Wednesday west of the Santiago Island, the fourth largest island in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador, leaving no victims, said the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park.
The passengers on the ill-fated boat were rescued, said the agency on its Twitter account, without specifying the number of people on board.
The Ecuadorian navy moved in to assist in the rescue operation, according to the directorate, which is responsible for the management of the Galapagos National Park.
Efforts were taken to minimize the impact of the boat-sinking on the volatile sea ecosystem, and a possible oil spill was ruled out.
"According to what was reported by the boat owner, the diesel with which it was operating was burned out in the fire," said the sources close to the directorate, which carried out an on-site inspection on Wednesday morning and reported no oil spill.
The Santiago Island, among others, is a popular tourism attraction in Ecuador.
This was the second loss of a tourist boat in the Galapagos Islands region in 2022.
On April 23, a boat sank in the Academia Bay on the Santa Cruz Island, prompting an immediate operation to reduce the impact on the ecosystems of some 2,000 gallons of diesel on board.
The Galapagos Islands, located 970 kilometers from the Pacific coast of Ecuador, was named a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site in 1978.
The region is home to numerous endangered species of flora and fauna that served as a laboratory for the English naturalist, geologist and biologist Charles Darwin to establish his theory of the evolution of species. ■