Princess Cruises Faces $40M Penalty for ‘Deliberate Pollution’
Princess Cruise Lines must pay a $40 million fine for "deliberate pollution of the seas and intentional acts to cover it up," according to the Department of Justice, which declared it "the largest-ever criminal penalty involving deliberate vessel pollution."
The cruise line also plead guilty to seven felony charges linked to its deliberate pollution of the seas and intentional acts to cover it up since 2005.
In a statement, the Department of Justice said Princess illegally dumped contaminated waste and oil from its Caribbean Princess ship for eight years. The illegal practice was discovered in 2013 when a whistleblowing engineer reported Princess.
The engineer quit his job over the dumping when the ship docked in the U.K. and alerted British authorities, who notified the U.S. Coast Guard. He said other engineers were using a device called a "magic pipe" to bypass the ship's water treatment system and unload oily waste into the ocean, reports NPR.
After the engineer reported Princess, other engineers tried to cover up the illegal dumping before investigators came aboard the ship.
DOJ said, "The chief engineer and senior first engineer ordered a cover-up, including removal of the magic pipe and directing subordinates to lie." The U.S. Coast Guard then investigated the ship and engineers continued to lie and cover up the act.
The deliberate pollution was likely born out of attempts to cut costs, as the chief engineer told his subordinates it cost too much to properly offload waste in ports and his supervisor would not want to pay the expense, according to DOJ.
The DOJ also found illegal practices on four other Princess ships, including:
- "One practice was to open a salt water valve when bilge waste was being processed by the oily water separator and oil content monitor. The purpose was to prevent the oil content monitor from otherwise alarming and stopping the overboard discharge."
- "The second practice involved discharges of oily bilge water originating from the overflow of graywater tanks into the machinery space bilges. This waste was pumped back into the graywater system rather than being processed as oily bilge waste."
Princess Cruises is a subsidiary of Miami-based Carnival Corp., and the plea agreement requires ships from eight of Carnival's companies to submit to court-supervised monitoring of environmental compliance for the next five years.
Posted in The Takedown