Though the recent sinking of a shrimp boat in the area of Puerto Peñasco’s docks could raise concerns, impact from fuel spillage has been minimal and work has progressed to contain the spread of hydrocarbons.
Upon report of the sinking of the “Guillermo Munro” shrimp boat in the early hours of Monday, September 21st, the local emergency plan to address hazardous substances at sea was immediately activated. Navy and Zofemat personnel strengthened the operative, commanded by the Harbor Master, laboring for over 10 hours to contain fuel that had spilled out of the vessel and spread on the surface.
Divers also took part in the operation, supervising the condition of the sunken boat, and steps remain in place to lift the boat through the use of cranes.
Harbor Master Luis Castro Galán detailed environmental impact has been minimal as fuel held in the shrimp boat is kept in tanks that are practically sealed.
Municipal ecology biologist Humberto González agreed, noting that due to control of the hydrocarbon spill the incident may only have minimum impact on species found in the area near the wharf.
“There will be minimal impact to fauna living on rocks, such as gastropods (snails and chitons), or crabs that may be on the surface,” remarked González. He added, “Everything that derives from oil floats on the water’s surface, while fish that swim half a meter below will not be directly impacted.” The biologist, who carries out evaluations on harm to the area, added that sea birds would not be impacted by pollution from the spill.
Fortunately, there are periodic emergency drills so that the Navy, Harbor Master, and ZOFEMAT personnel can react immediately and concisely to prevent further contamination, as occurred in this case.
Currently, dozens of the larger shrimp boats are in the process of preparing for this year’s shrimp season, ready to search for “pink gold” along the coasts of the Gulf of California.