| || On November 19, 2002, the Prestige, a 26-year-old oil tanker, sank off the west coast of Spain, spilling 77,000 tons of crude oil. The most effective tools for cleaning up such spills are scoops, modified dragnets, and drift nets. The victims of such ecological disasters must turn to the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPCF–FIPOL). Until 2004, this intergovernmental organization, financed by the oil industry, had provided up to 180 million euros ($204 million) for each such accident—a sum that is woefully inadequate in view of the total cost of such catastrophes, which runs into billions, and is even more laughable given the income that oil generates. In 2003, the French government levied over 24 billion euros (about $27.6 billion) in oil taxes. Fortunately, under pressure from the states of the European Union, the IMO (International Maritime Organization) has raised FIPOL’s contribution to 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion), a fivefold increase of the original figure.
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