The Ecuadoran freighter which ran aground in the Galapagos islands.

The Ecuadoran freighter which ran aground in the Galapagos islands.

QUITO: An Ecuadoran freighter has run aground in the Galapagos Islands, but "for the moment" does not pose a threat to the Pacific archipelago's unique environment, the Galapagos National Park says.

The vessel, which ran aground off the island of San Cristobal on Friday, is carrying more than 60,000 litres of fuel oil.

But an inspection "confirmed that the part of the vessel that is on the rocks is distant from the fuel tanks", the park said.

"So for the moment it does not represent an environmental risk," it added.

Authorities, however, were drawing up contingency plans in case of a spill, it said.

The ship's cargo also is being offloaded to make it lighter in hopes that a high tide will lift it off the rocks.

The Ecuadoran-owned island chain, which is located 1000 kilometres from the mainland, is famous for unique flora and fauna studied by Charles Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle as he developed his theory of evolution.

AFP