Carnival Corporation Fails Environmental Report Card

carnival corporation environmental report card fail
Costa Cruises is one of the lines in the Carnival Corporation family. - Photo by Shutterstock/balipadma

Friends of the Earth released their 2019 Cruise Ship Report Card today, which grades 16 cruise lines on their environmental impact.

This year’s report card continues to show an apparent ongoing lack of drive by most cruise companies to reduce their air and water pollution. For Carnival Corporation, this report card wasn’t good. All seven cruise companies under their umbrella received a failing grade of F in transparency for their blatant and continuous illegal pollution. The last report card was released in 2016.

The report card grades cruise lines on four criteria: air pollution reduction (including whether ships have installed shoreside power connections and whether they’re using them), sewage treatment technology, compliance with Alaska’s water quality regulations to protect the coastal waters, and transparency. Studies have shown that each day at sea an average cruise vessel emits more sulfur dioxide than 13 million cars, and produces about 21,000 gallons of sewage. While some ships have made changes like using cleaner fossil fuel and advanced sewage treatment systems, most of the industry is painfully lagging behind.

Within the last 2.5 years, Carnival Corporation has been on criminal probation in the US for illegally dumping oily waste into the ocean, and hiding it from industry regulators. And then, despite being on probation, the company’s cruise lines continued to commit hundreds of environmental crimes, including dumping wastewater into the ocean and polluting the air above the limit set by the federal and state governments. One of the worst crimes was the dumping of 26,000 gallons of polluted graywater into Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska, one of the most environmentally sensitive places on Earth.

“Carnival Corporation’s despicable behavior shows that we cannot take this polluting industry’s claims of environmental responsibility at face value,” said Marcie Keever, oceans and vessels program director for Friends of the Earth. “This entire industry must be investigated, and held accountable for its destructive behavior. Carnival Corporation should be forced to spend some of their massive profits to clean up the communities they have dumped on. This egregious case of wrongdoing shows just how critically we need federal agency and congressional oversight of cruise industry pollution practices. While the cruise industry continues to make claims about pollution reduction, their behavior says otherwise,” continued Marcie Keever. “Cruise lines are largely failing when it comes to air and water pollution reduction. Excess pollution from these ships can cause serious health problems, destroy habitats and exacerbate climate change. It is time for the industry to change their behavior in order to protect the oceans they are cruising on and the communities they travel to.”

Carnival Corporation was not alone in facing environmental challenges. Only Disney Cruise Line earned an above average grade, coming in at A-. Only one line, Norwegian, earned a C-, five lines scored a D or D-, with all seven Carnival Corporation-owned brands plus Crystal, earning an F. Many individual ships did better than their lines’ average, with 22 ships garnering an A or A- rating.

Click here to see this year’s full cruise line report cards.

Friends of the Earth is a non-governmental network of environmental organizations in 74 countries around the world, who push for change towards a greener future.

Join the discussion

Do you look at Carnival Corporation the same after all of the recent trouble they've been in? Will you continue to sail their ships?

1 Comment

Posted by ArtemisArgente

This would be a valid report if they didn't decide to 'subjectively downgrade' Carnival. While I agree that receiving fines would be a negative, it isn't enough to downgrade the entire corporation to 'F's. They should have applied the downgrade to the cruiseline (not corporation) that actually triggered the fine.

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