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Thursday, 25 January, 2001, 15:11 GMT
Press condemns Galapagos 'negligence'
Oil tanker Jessica
The Jessica contained 1.1 million litres of diesel
Newspapers in Ecuador are focusing on what they see as the numerous failings that led to an oil spill threatening the unique wildlife of the Galapagos Islands.

The daily Hoy believes the failure to remove oil from the stricken Jessica immediately after it ran aground shows how poorly equipped Ecuador is to deal with such disasters.


The country lacks an effective civil defence mechanism to confront such crises

Hoy
"The country lacks an effective civil defence mechanism with the appropriate training, budget, personnel and equipment to confront such crises," the paper says.

Hoy adds that the search for the culprits will have to extend beyond the ship's captain and owners to the naval authorities which authorised the ship's passage, the company which provided the oil "and to all those connected to the misfortune".

Another major daily, El Comercio, says Ecuador is revealing itself as a poor guardian of the Galapagos Islands.


The bottom line is that we are dealing with an area which requires special attention, and we must never forget this

El Comercio
"Despite previous warnings, the population of the islands has been constantly increasing, although this goes against the interests of such a unique area," the paper says in an editorial.

"This leads to demands for more fuel, which in turn means more shipping.

"The bottom line is that we are dealing with an area which requires special attention, and we must never forget this. The tourist industry must also subordinate itself to these needs."


If the Merchant Navy authorised the passage of a vessel in such a dangerous and precarious state, it is guilty of negligence

Expreso
Writing from Ecuador's second city, the port of Guayaquil, Expreso blames the merchant navy for allowing such an unseaworthy vessel to sail.

"The Merchant Navy has the duty to authorise the passage of vessels on the basis of their safety and seaworthiness," the paper says.

"If it authorised the passage of a vessel in such a dangerous and precarious state, it is guilty of negligence, and such negligence must be established so that sanctions can be applied against those who failed in their fundamental duties."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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See also:

25 Jan 01 | Americas
Galapagos tanker crew face charges
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