Now, I'm both chagrined and gratified to learn that a component of the system I described already exists and has been available since long before I started thinking about it.
It's an ocean-going vessel that can skim huge volumes of oil. It meets the requirements that I laid down. Its name, on the back, is an in-your-face "A WHALE".
We need a fleet of these ships. We need a Manhattan project to build them. And they need to be maintained in constant readiness - to provide insurance for governments to authorize; oilmen to invest; fishermen to fish; tourists to come; and merchants to open their doors to receive them.
If "A WHALE" works, a fleet of these ships could take the Black Swan risk of finding oil off the table. I can't think of a better project for public money to subsidize and maintain.
It could change everything.