Carnival Cruise Lines to pay $20-million for Dumping Trash into Ocean (again) and Attempted Cover-Up

Carnival Corporation has been ordered to pay USD $20-million (AUD $28-million) after it violated its terms of its probation, releasing food and plastic waste into the ocean. Worse still, according to court filings, Carnival failed to keep accurate records of its waste management, created false, training records, and “secretly examined ships to fix environmental-compliance issues before third-party inspections without reporting its findings to the inspectors,” according to Business Insider.

The court ruled that Carnival must pay the fine within seven days, and will be subject to more rigorous inspections of its fleet, as well as a mandate to create teams devoted to waste management and commit to the reduction of single-use plastic items on board.

If they do not meet the court-ordered requirements, Carnival faces additional penalties ranging from $1-million to $10-million per day for non-compliance.

According to The New York Times, “in 2016, Princess Cruise Lines agreed to pay a $40 million penalty for illegally dumping oil-contaminated waste into the sea and trying to cover it up.” A year later, the company pleaded guilty to illegally purging its oil directly into the ocean and a subsequent cover up.

“It was the largest criminal penalty ever imposed for intentional vessel pollution, and the Justice Department put the cruise line’s parent company, Carnival Corporation, on notice.”

Carnival has since been on a five-year probation period, but has reportedly made few procedural changes to its operations. Ariana Fajardo Orshan, United States attorney for the Southern District of Florida issued a statement outlining that “a corporation is responsible to its shareholders and board of directors to be profitable, but not by breaking the law and destroying the very environment in which it navigates for profit.”

Carnival’s chief executive Arnold W. Donald told hearing, “I do take responsibility for the problems we have,” he said. “I am extremely disappointed that we’ve had them. I know you have reservations about our commitment and who we are. I want you to know we are fully committed.”

According to data from a third-party report investigating Carnival, the company had violated as many as 800 of its terms between 2017 and 2018.

“During an audit of the cruise ship Carnival Elation in December,” explains the New York Times, “officials found that food waste had been mixed with plastic straws, aluminium and other miscellaneous items, which were ‘ready to be discharged down the chute and then overboard while at sea,’ records show.”

In response, a Carnival spokesperson said that “these issues were unacceptable failures in our processes that were not in accordance with our policies and procedures, and do not reflect the culture we have built at Carnival Corporation and across our nine cruise line brands.”

They continued to explain that “we have been taking steps to address the improvement areas mentioned in the report, and to build on the positive progress noted by the court-appointed monitor to make sure we are in full compliance moving forward,” they said.

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