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Give Us Answers: Carnival Facing Grilling On Shock Ocean Dumping

One of the Carnival Corporation's fleet of cruise ships.

One of the Carnival Corporation's fleet of cruise ships.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

GOVERNMENT officials launched an investigation and started direct talks with Carnival Corporation yesterday after reports that the cruise giant’s ships unlawfully dumped sewage and food waste in Bahamian waters.

Carnival ships dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of treated sewage and more than 8,000 gallons of food waste in 2017, according to a US court-mandated report.

In so doing, the corporation violated the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) which specifies how food waste and sewage must be disposed.

The US government has extracted millions from companies over the years by aggressively enforcing compliance with MARPOL, but it is not clear whether The Bahamas has the legislative framework in place to do the same. Local investigators will undertake their fact-finding mission at the beginning, by first determining whether Carnival’s ships were truly in Bahamian waters when the materials were dumped, The Tribune was told. Among the matters they will assess is the environmental impact of the dumping –– Carnival officials said yesterday that there was no negative impact on marine ecosystems because the sewage released in Bahamian waters was treated and removed of contaminants. 

Seven of Carnival’s ships are registered with the Bahamas Maritime Authority.

If incidents such as unlawful dumping occur on such ships, Carnival is required to report those incidents to the BMA. Since none of the ships said to have unlawfully dumped sewage and food waste in local waters were registered in the Bahamas, the corporation was required to report the incidents to the Port Authority, The Tribune understands. It is unclear if Carnival complied with this requirement in every instance.

Reports of the dumping were revealed in a recently released report by a US court-appointed monitor. The monitor was required to review Carnival’s activities after the corporation pled guilty to vessel pollution and efforts to conceal that pollution in 2016. The corporation was placed on probation.

Opposition leader Philip “Brave” Davis yesterday said the government must assess what damage Carnival may have caused and to remedy that damage at a cost to the corporation. 

“It is an alarming revelation that our waters have been polluted and I would hope that some assessment could be made to determine what impact it would have had on our ecology and if there is any consequence and if there is an impact that further assessments could be made to determine how it could be remedied at the cost of Carnival,” Mr Davis said. “I note from stories several weeks ago that Carnival was in fact on probation by the authorities in the United States. It’s necessary for the government to take note of what’s going on and see how we could remedy any damage to the Bahamas.”

According to the MARPOL convention, treated sewage can only be discharged at a distance of more than three nautical miles from the nearest land; Carnival has a self-imposed requirement of 12 nautical miles.

Carnival officials blamed its dumping on a misunderstanding of the Bahamian archipelagic baseline. 

Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, president of Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation, said environmentalists remain deeply concerned about the issue of cruise ship dumping at sea.

“This is not a one-off issue,” she said. “The growing cruise industry brings with it environmental issues that must be addressed. We need to have a comprehensive and enforceable Environmental Protection Act and much more stringent monitoring and tougher enforcement for our own waters.

“We do not currently have adequate standards for cruise ship pollution, and even the basic standards are clearly not being adhered to. We should require large cruise ships to treat their waste water to the point where it would meet the water quality criteria designed to protect human and aquatic life. We need to ensure that our waters and food sources are protected. The Bahamas depends on clear clean water for our very survival – from food security and a healthy marine environment for locals and visitors to enjoy.”

She added: “It is estimated that cruise operators discarded over one billion gallons of sewage into the ocean in 2017. Much of this black water still contained dangerous levels of contaminants from fecal matter, bacteria and heavy metals. There are numerous instances around the world where people have become ill from coming in contact with inadequately treated sewage from cruise ships, or through eating contaminated seafood. Coral reefs are particularly vulnerable to pollution.”

Comments

joeblow 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The government needs Carnival more than Carnival needs the Bahamas. Economics has already made the decision. I expect nothing to come out of this!

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SP 7 months, 3 weeks ago

WRONG!! The Caribbean basin is THE biggest cruise ship destination in the world! Carnival needs the Bahamas far more than the Bahamas needs Carnival.

Nothing may not happen, because the Government is too corrupt and ignorant to the fact that Carnival and the whole cruise industry are using and abusing the Bahamas like personal playthings!

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TalRussell 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Yes, yes ma comrades, PeoplesPublic suspicions must stand on guard to plead complete lack any knowledge 'shit' stuffs being dumped into our waters - if that is what Imperial red shirts governing party now into its third 5-year elected stick at governing on behalf we so beloved Queen over her Colony of Out Islands - are nervy enough to run for cover under highest ducking out on the truth obligations to the PeoplesPublic, yes, no........ "FREE" porters should be encouraged ask Her Majesty to reclaim are long lost colony of "FREE" port rather than remaining all silent until the Port sells out ownership to the cruise ships companies, yes, no............ Welcome soon live under the all new and revised Hawksbill Creek Agreement of Cruise Ships 2019, yes, no?

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birdiestrachan 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Perhaps that is why they are coming to the Bahamas to do as they like and act as they please, The Bahamas is sold for a small bowl of cold porridge. some will get a few dollars and it is all over,

They are sometimes here and sometimes there. No creditability. Say what Joe.??.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Read and weep. The Bahamas serves as the toilet of choice for the U.S. cruise ship industry with Carnival lying and falsifying records in order to conceal the damage done to our environment over many decades of illegally dumping raw and/or improperly treated sewerage, food waste, contaminated ballast water, and other harmful materials into our pristine waters.

Click towards right side of links below for the full story on Carnival's criminal conduct over many decades.

https://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/a...">https://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/a...

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/busin...">https://www.orlandosentinel.com/busin...

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Well_mudda_take_sic 7 months, 3 weeks ago

By Jim Walker on April 17, 2019:

"The Court so far has permitted the filing of only CAM’s report regarding Carnival’s first year of pollution. The 2018-2019 report undoubtedly shows additional illegal discharges and pollution violations.

The Bahamas is a flag state where many hundreds of cruise ships are registered. The majority of cruise ships owned by Royal Caribbean fly the flag of the Bahamas in order to avoid U.S. income taxes as well as wage/labor law and safety regulations of the U.S. The Bahamas essentially has no mechanism to enforce international pollution laws when ships flying the flag of the Bahamas pollute the waters of the Bahamas. Carnival flags at least five of its ships in the Bahamas, including the Carnival Fascination, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Sensation and Carnival Triumph. (The majority of the Carnival owned ship such as the Carnival Elation and the Carnival Conquest mentioned above are registered in Panama, so that Carnival can avoid U.S. taxes, labor laws and safety regulations. Like the Bahamas, Panama has little interest in enforcing international pollution regulations such as MARPOL).

As Carnival continues to develop the cruise port in Grand Bahama, the Bahamas should realize that it is dealing with what the federal district judge in Miami presiding over the pollution case called a “recidivist criminal” which has engaged in world-wide pollution and repeatedly lied about it."

Ask yourself: JUST HOW GOD-DAMN STUPID OUR RECKLESS AND GROSSLY INCOMPETENT POLITICIANS HAVE BEEN IN THEIR TREATMENT OF THE CRUISE SHIP INDUSTRY OVER THE PAST FOUR DECADES??!!

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bogart 7 months, 3 weeks ago

DA PART OF DA CONCERN.......is the previous Govts..... and all these Cruise Ships registered anf plying our waters for decades.......travelling for days with cruise passengers....seeming ignorant that these ship passengers must been constitaped for days.....and wastes from these ships been spending fuel to carry wastes back an forth....dis mess should be dropped at da feet of previous govt ....an held then responsible....for this...Bahamians wouldda not been confronted today if dey had handled this during their time ....indeed how did they not tink tens of thousands passangers...being constipated....on board ship voyages in Bahamian waters...or...or ship operators spending for fuel to transport wastes back an forth.......

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DDK 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Just go away. Horrible floating hotels. They are far too big and can no longer be overlooked. They do almost nothing for the economies of the ports they visit and cause irreparable damage to the environment.......

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Well_mudda_take_sic 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The Minnis-led FNM government, more than any other government we have ever had, has been zealously kowtowing to every want and need of the cruise ship industry. Our despicable politicians have been telling us all along to ignore fears about the likely ghastly environmental impacts of the cruise ship industry's development projects in the Bahamas. They have been telling us to trust them to ensure the necessary environmental impact and other studies will be done in advance by 'independent' consultants and experts to prove such fears are unwarranted. Now we, the Bahamian people, learn that we have been sold out (betrayed) by our politicians, the cruise ship industry (especially Carnival cruise lines) and the so called 'independent' environmental consultants and experts. And we would not be learning this if it were not for legal actions initiated against Carnival in the U.S.

Meanwhile Minnis and D'Aguilar have been feting and bending over backwards to give these greedy and lawless foreign owned cruise line companies land and seabed leases to some of the most pristine and beautiful areas of our country. Minnis and D'Aguilar are also proposing to give the various cruise line projects overly generous concessions in relation to the little economic benefit these financially ring fenced projects will bring to the project areas and the Bahamas as a whole. The business model behind these cruise ship company projects is all about keeping as much as possible of the economic benefits for their foreign stakeholders with as little as possible economic spillover for the benefit of the Bahamian people and the Bahamas. Frankly, Minnis and D'Aguilar, as two inept politicians primarily responsible for selling us out, should be hanging their heads in shame and the Bahamian people should be very angry with both of them. The incalculable cost of their betrayal of everything that is so good about our country and its people should not be underestimated. The severe damaging effects of these projects to our environment will be colossal to say the least, and will likely be permanent in nature.

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bogart 7 months, 3 weeks ago

...using commentry on cruise ship wastes......jus SEWAGE.....SOME SHIP WID 3,000 PASSENGERS AN CREW....PRODUCES SOME 30,000 GALLONS OF SEWAGE.....DAILY.........NOT INCLUDING...WASTE WATER FROM SHOWERS ZINKS...... SOOT SULPHR DIOXIDE.....BLOWIN IN DA AIR.......Lookin at 30,000 sewage daily das like 6 big Road tanker lorries..big ones sizes....carryin 5,000 each.........so wid 4 cruize ships in harbour??...4 x 30,000 = 120,000 gallons..das like .... plenty.....AND SEEMS LAW ....IS FER NOT TO EMPLTY WITHIN 3 NAUTICAL MILES FROM SHORE.....unless it treated....FURTHERout it seems ok to dump....weeeeeelllll....us pore d grade poverty stricken never can afford all da brain enrishing fish foods....lobster...

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MaryMack53 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Boy any chance they get they dumping and bad mouthing us. Our Government needs to get rid of them ASAP. Any chance they get they leaking information to the press. Oh, how the tables have turned. If caught our government needs to implement million dollar fines and a lifetime ban on any cruise line caught committing this crime.

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milesair 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Catering to cruise ship passengers ads practically nothing to the Bahamian economy since cruise ship passengers don't even have to get off these ships to spend any money. Why the government even wants more cruise ships in the Bahamas will remain one of life's great mysteries as is the proposed "Oban" oil refinery on Grand Bahama. Once you screw up the environment it will take a long time to clean it up. The environment (clean water, reefs and beaches in the Bahamas) are certainly great assets that should be protected. The Bahamas should concentrate on getting tourists to come by air and private boat and cruise ships should be last on the list.

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Millennial242 7 months, 3 weeks ago

That's not quite true. There is a company called Global Blue collecting data from merchants near the cruise ports and reporting it to the government. They can see exactly how much cruise ships are bringing into this economy; and it's a pretty penny.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Why don't you take a moment and find out for yourself just who owns Global Blue!

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paul_vincent_zecchino 7 months, 3 weeks ago

MIlennial 242 -

Thank you for stating facts in face of this outpouring of hate.

This is a political witchhunt sponsored by Carnival's enemies. The Clinton-appointed federal judge who is causing trouble for Carnival is clearly acting for the benefit of others, perhaps Carnival's competitors.

It is no coincidence that baby Kennedy, RFK Jr., is hanging around the Bahamas, stirring up animosity towards Carnival.

No coincidence at all. This is the Deep State going after a successful cruise line, likely on behalf of jealous competitors and other losers.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Your head is stuck in wishy-washy conspiracy theories. Only a fool ignores hard facts. Don't be so sure that most Bahamians do not care about the natural beauty of their country. It's the only treasure most Bahamians will ever be able to lay claim to with a great deal of pride.

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 2 weeks ago

"Causing trouble"? The company was guilty of violating laws. Een nobody causing them "trouble". Take that swamp mentality back to maralargo.

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"GOVERNMENT officials launched an investigation and started direct talks with Carnival Corporation yesterday after reports that the cruise giant’s ships unlawfully dumped sewage and food waste in Bahamian waters"

I don't believe a word of it. You mean to tell me, you never once heard one word about this ever? Or did you try to hide it from the bahdmian people? Carnival sat in negotiations with you for months and they never once breathed a single word about the fact that they were CURRENTLY in court charged with dumping human waste in your waters? Off the cay you entrusted to them no less. Someone is not being up front with the Bahamian people.

IF On the other hand they did smile at you for months and not breathe a word why would you trust them?

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concerned799 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Fine them. Kick Carnival and the other cruise lines out forever. Their allegiance is to profit, and completely at odds with growing with a host country as everything they do is designed to avoid any form of meaningful regulation. It is a toxic industry which never should have been allowed to grow to where it is today. Everyone who has said its a toxic industry is proved right by all this.

If the Bahamas can't get come to the realization on the above then it might as well put the Carnival logo on its flag and recognize it no longer controls its economy or environment in any meaningful way.

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bogart 7 months, 3 weeks ago

WID DA BAHAMAS....MARITIME DIS AN DAT......WID THE YES...BAMSRI...BAHAMAS..MARINE RESEARCH INSTITUTE......MINISTRIES OF Agriculture an FISHERIES.....SHIPPING REGISTRY.....yes BAHAMAS TRUST fer lands waters environments...ENVIRONMENTALISTS......one Govt Minister running round school chillrens in green drapes cape.....Big time efforts on one developer chapping roads on island get taken back....one island gets channel cutwide.....Bimimini dock expands....Obeah CANE FROGS....PLENTY EXPERTS......EDUCATED SCIENTIFIC ...AN HAD TO FINALLY CATCH SENSE......FROM US COURTS ON EXPOSING .....SHIPS....DUMPING SEWAGE...3 NAUTICAL MILE OFF SHORES......BAHAMIAN..EDUCATED PEOPLE PICKIN UP ON DA HUGE HUGE TONNAGE OF ....POO ...AN OTHER POLLUTANTS....DESE CRUIZE SHIPS CARRYIN ROUND BAHAMAS SEAS.....seems decades...plenty educated experts...on environment.....now finding out...BUT aint too late like da gubber,int people jus doing someting bout da ILLEGAL SHANTYTOWNS.....

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Well_mudda_take_sic 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Minnis and D'Aguilar are zealots for helping the cruise ship companies like Carnival to swim in handsome profits generated by our beautiful islands and seas while we, the Bahamian people, are left to literally swim in the shiite these greedy and lawless companies have been dumping on us for decades. If Minnis and D'Aguilar continue to standby and do nothing but give this matter their traditional lip service, then that fact alone will tell all of us whose hands are in whose pockets! Bottom line: We, the Bahamian people, cannot trust Minnis and D'Aguilar to do the right thing by us and our country when it comes to 'their' dealings with the foreign owned cruise ship companies like Carnival. A hefty financial price for the harm already done to our environment needs to be exacted from Carnival, and both Minnis and D'Aguilar must be made to pay a serious political price for their betrayal of the Bahamian people and their God-given heritage. Anything less would embolden the cruise ship industry to treat us as their favourite toilet whenever they wish to take an inexpensive dump!

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Is this the FNM's Rubis? why did Fitzgerald say he couldn't warn his constituents about the spill again?

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bcitizen 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Maybe we should give them another island as punishment.

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Lol. You give yours leave mine alone

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Well_mudda_take_sic 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Has anyone heard a peep of any kind from either duplicitous Minnis or equally duplicitous D'Aguilar on this most serious matter? These two political scoundrels seem to be in a partnership with the cruise ship companies whereby they are selling our pristine environment (our natural heritage) to greedy and lawless foreign interests.

There must be a quid pro quo here of the kind that should invoke action under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Hopefully the U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas is carefully watching this matter as it will have long term implications for the health of our relations with the U.S. if mishandled in a way that lets the greedy and lawless culprits off the hook.

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TalRussell 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Yes, yes seems not occupy comrades in Queen's official opposition party that it has been a whole year since the Commish Policeman's said he was going looking fore the 'missing' OBAN documents, yes, no ...... And is 'missing' gone from right from under we policeman's guarded cabinet room, yes, no..... guess all depends on meaning if 'is', is - yes, no.... strange still when not a single member Imperial red shirts cabinet have uttered a damn word about the 'missing' OBAN documents, yes, no?

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BONEFISH 7 months, 3 weeks ago

There is an outcry about this dumping of sewerage in Bahamian waters.In a few weeks,this will fade away.In the Bahamas,the contest between jobs and the environment,jobs always win. A journalist basically said that.Also foreign investors know Bahamians better than Bahamians know themselves.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Minnis and D'Aguilar are now carrying too much ill-will on their backs and most of it will still be there when the next general election is held. As for foreign investors knowing Bahamians better than they know themselves, I think you mean most foreign investors know who among our elected officials is more likely to place the interests of foreign investors above the interests of the Bahamian people when a little grease is added to the equation.

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Bobsyeruncle 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Sorry, but Bahamians are no better themselves with their trash. The roadsides & bushes are littered with KFC & Burger King take out packages, empty soda cans, beer bottles, old appliances etc. Perhaps if there was a little bit more pride in keeping the country litter free, they would take the problem more seriously.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 7 months, 3 weeks ago

So you believe if A murders C then B should be able to murder D with less of a consequence. Wow!

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 2 weeks ago

False equivalence. I agree with Mudda. This has nothing to do with Kentucky boxes on the beach and everything to do with a billion dollar company thinking it can dump it's waste indiscriminately in our backyard. Added to that they sat in meetings for months looking into the face of our leaders asking for ANOTHER port. This is no better than Krieger forging a signature in the PM's office. Complete disrespect.

And if our cabinet knew about this months ago, that's a whole new bowl of stew fish

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BMW 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Agreed, if bahamians care so much about the enviroment why are we over fishing many resources, dumping our sewerage down wells right under our noses, littering all over the place? Hypocrits we are!!

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shafferv 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I suppose our government is totally unaware of all the US Navy ships dumping their garbage in the ocean.

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