By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
CARNIVAL vessels have submitted three reports to maritime authorities in the current 2018/2019 fiscal year, The Tribune has been told.
Those reports were “inconsequential”, according to sources close to the matter, who said it concerned an accidental oil spill in port, loss of anchor and chain, and a golf ball being thrown overboard.
The oil spill was “miniscule” - reportedly less than a quarter of a gallon, this newspaper was told.
The current fiscal year began in June 2018.
Government officials have launched an investigation after reports that the cruise giant’s ships unlawfully dumped sewage and food waste in Bahamian waters in 2017.
Yesterday, the cruise line maintained the dumping was not intentional and the result of human error.
“We look forward to meeting with officials there,” said Roger Frizzell, Carnival Corporation chief communications officer and senior vice president of corporate communications.
“This is a regrettable situation of human error, not intentional. While we properly released treated discharge 12 miles from land — more than four times further than required by international law — we failed to recognise the boundaries of the archipelago economic zones that exists.”
He continued: “As a result, we have instituted additional training, oversight and tools for our ship personnel to aid them in properly diagnosing and navigating archipelago zones and boundaries. There is no negative impact to marine life or humans resulting from these actions.”
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 Bahamas signed the MARPOL Annex IV – the clause defining international sewage discharge requirements – in late 2017.
The US court report is part of a five-year term of probation that was applied after Carnival pleaded guilty to seven felony counts related to vessel pollution and efforts to conceal that pollution, one count of conspiracy, four counts of failure to maintain accurate records and two counts of obstruction of justice, in 2016.
The probation terms require all ships from eight Carnival cruise lines to participate in a supervised environmental compliance programme.
The company is also required to retain an outside independent third-party auditor and to fund a court-appointed monitor (CAM).
Mr Frizzell said yesterday: “We realise any infraction is one too many. The environment and sustainability has been and remains a top priority for the company. We have an obligation to our company, our guests and the more than 700 destinations we visit around the world to protect the environment in which we live, work and travel. We take these issues very seriously and we are vigorously addressing them.”
The government has requested the CAM report for 2018; however, The Tribune was told the document has not yet been released by the court.
Ships’ records are examined by port state control officers to identify instances of possible unreported maritime pollution.
The Bahamas Maritime Authority reported in February that it recorded the lowest number of annual detentions for 2018 following port state control (PSC) inspections. Only 24 ships were detained in 2018, according to BMA Chair J Denise Lewis-Johnson.