EU gives EUR 4.3m in Prestige aid
4 December 2003
MADRID – The European Union has granted EUR 4.3 million in aid to help repair the ecological damage caused by the Prestige oil tanker disaster, it was reported Thursday.
The cash will go to fund projects like cleaning the sea, marine beds and shores affected by the contamination.
Other schemes under consideration will include paying for the barriers which had to be put up along the coast to stop the spread of the oil inland.
The Prestige sank in November 2002 near the port of La Coruna on the Galician coast.
The single-hulled tanker, registered in Liberia, had reported difficulties and after drifting for six days, it sank spilling 50,000 tonnes of oil into the sea.
According to the Royal Society of the Protection of Birds in Scotland, nearly 4,000 Scottish puffins were washed up dead as a result of the spill.
Another 300,000 British seabirds – mainly Scottish guillemots and razorbills – were killed, says the RSPB.
In Spain, fishermen have been living off hand-outs for months as their livelihood was severely damaged.
The Spanish Government has been trumpeting the success of its clean-up operation; however environmental groups staged demonstrations to coincide with the Prestige anniversary – November 19.
The World Wild Life Fund says up to 10,000 tonnes of oil still remain in Spanish and French waters.
A study published by a Spanish University warned that high levels of toxic chemicals have been found in sea food.
In October, the EU agreed on banned single-hulled tankers carrying heavy fuel oil from its ports.
The United States adopted similar legislation a decade ago after the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska.
The EU is to consider which projects should get the cash.
The money is part of a larger 66m Euro fund to pay for longer-term damage to the shores off Spain, Portugal and France.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news