A firefighter checks anti-pollution equipment on a beach at Fromentine near Noirmoutiers island, Brittany, Saturday, Dec. 25, 1999. The first traces of the oil spill from the Maltese-registered tanker Erika, which broke in two and sank Dec. 12 pouring 3 million gallons of oil into the sea, began to wash up on the shores of the Atlantic coast. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)