Carnival Corporation Fined $20 Million Over Ocean Pollution

carnival pollutes ocean fined 20 million
Carnival Corporation has reached a settlement with federal prosecutors. - Photo by Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Corporation has reached a settlement with federal prosecutors, agreeing to pay a $20 million penalty for polluting the ocean. Despite previously being convicted for the same thing through their Princess Cruises brand in 2016 and paying a $40 million penalty for that, the company’s cruise ships continued to emit pollution.

Carnival Corporation’s CEO Arnold Donald stood up and admitted guilt in front of a packed courtroom, including company chairman Micky Arison. “The company pleads guilty…We acknowledge the shortcomings. I am here today to formulate a plan to fix them.”

Senior U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz approved the agreement following the guilty plea, responding with “The proof will be in the pudding, won’t it? If you all did not have the environment, you would have nothing to sell.”

The company was put on five years’ probation following the Princess Cruises conviction for discharging oily waste from their ships and purposefully and carefully covering it up. Since then, they violated terms of their probation and have confirmed that they’ve dumped “gray water” in prohibited places include Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska and knowingly allowed plastic to be discharged along with food waste in the Bahamas. Carnival Corporation also admitted falsifying compliance documents and having cleanup teams clean their ships just before scheduled inspections.

Carnival has promised additional audits to check for violations, a better system for reporting environmental violations, and a restructuring of the company’s compliance and training programs, under the agreement. Deadlines were also set for aspects of the agreement for this fall, and the company will be charged fines of $1 million per day if the deadlines aren’t met. If a second round of deadlines aren’t met, the fines could increase to $10 million per day.

Previously, Seitz had threatened to prevent Carnival Corporation’s ships from docking at U.S. ports because of the violations, and said she might hold executives personally responsible. “The concern I have is that senior management has no skin in the game. My goal is to have the defendant change its behavior.”

Three people who said they were victims of the company’s environmental violations attended the hearing. Their lawyer, Knoll Lowney, expressed skepticism that this conviction will actually change Carnival’s behavior. “Time and time again, Carnival has shown its contempt of environmental laws and the rule of law,” he said. “Here we are again.”

Information: Travel Weekly

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