The set of violations and omissions that led to the sinking of the Angy coaster and the death of four passengers is not a specific issue of that vessel. Official documents and complaints to which EL UNIVERSO had access reveal that, six months ago, another boat with 36 passengers drifted for nearly seven hours for reasons similar to Angy’s.
On Saturday, March 12, 2022, the Arrecife cabotage boat covered the Puerto Baquerizo Moreno-Puerto Ayora route. The boat set sail around 07:30. An hour later, she slowed down, and subsequently the engines were shut down. The captain, after the insistence of the passengers, reported that “the hoses had been clogged by dirty gasoline” and that another boat would arrive in fifteen minutes to provide better fuel.
At least five contraventions were carried out by the Angy boat, whose shipwreck in Galapagos leaves four dead so far
However, no one came. On the boat there were children, elderly and hypertensive people. The infants began to vomit continuously due to the movement of the boat. The desperate passengers tried to communicate with someone on the ground to report what was happening due to the captain’s reluctance. One of the cell phones picked up a signal for a few minutes and they managed to contact ECU911.
Given the captain’s refusal to give coordinates, the passengers described that they had just passed Santa Fe Island and that they could see the profile of Santa Cruz Island, but that they did not see the port. ECU911 told them that they would notify the port captain of the situation.
Help didn’t come either. After 12:00, the passengers were able to contact ECU911 again. The desperation had increased because several children were already showing signs of dehydration and did not have fresh water to help them. The call was cut off, but the helpdesk called again and communication was established.
“We told them that the captain had not reported the news. There we found out that the captain had reported that we were already moving forward and refused to give coordinates. We put pressure on the captaincy to do something. We already had more than five hours adrift”, indicates the complaint signed by the passengers of the boat.
A panga taxi arrived, called by the captain of the Arrecife, who approached with fuel, but the gasoline only allowed the boat to advance for about fifteen minutes. According to the passengers, the refueling maneuver was very dangerous and improvised, since the entire interior of the boat was contaminated with gasoline gases.
“The captain’s negligence of not wanting to report what was happening prevented help from arriving quickly and spared us trauma and despair. The captain did not answer the calls that were made to him by radio. At the request of the passengers, he took a call that we made to the captaincy and the aid was just coordinated there”, say the passengers in the complaint.
License plate presented by the captain of the Angy boat, which was shipwrecked in the Galapagos, would belong to another person, according to the registry
At 1:00 p.m., a coast guard boat arrived with a panga taxi to take children with their mothers, elderly and disabled people. At 14:00, all the passengers were rescued and taken to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. A one year and six month old boy was one of the worst affected by dehydration.
The passengers filed the complaint with Katherine Llerena, president of the Galapagos Governing Council. In addition, in a letter dated March 18, the Directorate of Maritime and River Transport requested an investigation into the incident, which led to the suspension of the captain and crew of the Arrecife vessel.
How the responsibilities for the sinking of a boat in the Galapagos Islands will be investigated
“We wanted to create a present so that these mistakes are not repeated. The same thing they are saying now (with the sinking of the boat Angy) they told us at that time: that the arrival of the boats was going to be controlled, that they were going to control the fuel with a marker in all the boats, life jackets, quantity of passengers to avoid a repetition of this event, but it was all a lie, because there are the deaths”, indicates a passenger of the Arrecife boat. (YO)