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Carnival’S Payment For Sailing Violations – $20m: A Drop In The Ocean

The Carnival Elation ship.

The Carnival Elation ship.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

CARNIVAL Corporation has reached a settlement with US federal prosecutors that would see it pay $20 million in fines for violating terms of its probation.

The company admitted to six violations of its Environmental Compliance Plan (ECP), one of which involves having its ship, Carnival Elation, discharge plastic mixed with food waste in Bahamian waters on December 16, 2018 in violation of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). Other violations include falsifying records, communicating with the US Coast Guard through a back channel, failing to give enough authority to the company’s environmental compliance officer and rushing to clean up ships ahead of visits by a court-appointed monitor.

Carnival had a net income of $3.2 billion in 2018. 

The genesis of the company’s legal setback is a 2016 case in which it pleaded guilty to dumping waste into the ocean and covering it up. The initial settlement required the company to pay a $40 million fine and serve a five-year probation in which it would be supervised by a court-appointed monitor.

The monitor’s reports for the first two years revealed how Carnival ships dumped 66,000 gallons of ballast water and hundreds of thousands of gallons of treated sewage and food waste in Bahamian waters. The first report also highlighted the company’s efforts to comply with the ECP. The Bahamas Maritime Authority is conducting its own probe into Carnival’s actions in Bahamian waters. 

The world’s largest cruise operator, Carnival has nine cruise brands and 105 ships worldwide. Through the new settlement agreement, the company has agreed to allow additional audits and visits from its monitor and third party auditor.

The agreement says: “The company agrees that within 30 days of the signing of this agreement it will issue a statement to all employees in which the CEO of Carnival Corporation & PLC personally accepts management responsibility for the probation violations in connection with the court’s acceptance of the proposed joint resolution of the petition.”

It adds: “The company acknowledges that there have been discharges and other releases made in violation of MARPOL during the period of probation that have not been reported to the country in whose waters the violation occurred. Accordingly, the company agrees to a special condition of probation that includes a new obligation governing the reporting of environmental discharges and releases in violation of MARPOL, the ballast water convention, the London dumping convention or any future maritime environmental convention to which the United States becomes a party and which goes into effect during the period of Princess’s probation.”

US District Court Judge Patricia Seitz approved the agreement yesterday. At a previous hearing she threatened to block Carnival from docking in US docks. According to the Associated Press, she said yesterday: “The concern I have is that senior management has no skin in the game. My goal is to have the defendant change its behaviour.”

She reportedly said future violations might be met with prison time and criminal fines from individuals. 

The Associated Press said Carnival’s CEO Arnold Donald stood in open court and admitted the company’s responsibility for probation violations. “The company pleads guilty,” he reportedly said six times.

Sam Duncombe, head of local environmental group reEarth, was one of three people behind an emergency motion seeking to be recognised in the proceedings as a victim and granted the powers and responsibilities that come with that distinction. According to The Miami Herald, prosecutors filed a motion telling the judge they should not be considered victims under the Crime Victims Rights Act. Up to press time last night the fate of the motion was unclear.  

In response to local outcry, Attorney General Carl Bethel has said there will be an environmental protection law by the end of the summer, enabling the Bahamas to go after polluters. 

Comments

proudloudandfnm 5 months, 1 week ago

Now the Bahamian government must prosecute Carnival and fine them heavily for dumping in our waters. Don't be afraid, Carnival needs us just as much as we need them, prosecuting them won't cause them to pull out or reduce their investments here. Fine them millions per act...…

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John 5 months, 1 week ago

Carnival had a net income of $3.2 billion in 2018

Carnival had $3.8 billion PROFIT, after it had paid all its bills including taxes. Yet this government was paying this cruise line to bring passengers to the Bahamas to enjoy our sand, sun and sea. And this cruise line was still dumping illegal contaminants into out waters, including sewerage and plastics and food wastes causing harm to the environment and threatening the country's fishing industry. And how many cruise lines are there? So why is the country's national debt still climbing when these companies are making $3 plus Billion a year. So lets see, there's the space overhead usage fees, the royalties from sand and salt and aragonite and yet the national debt is increasing at near a Billion a year and the average bahamian cannot afford to keep the lights on, even BPL ain't load shading.

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Sickened 5 months, 1 week ago

Absolutely John. It is sickening that we are paying a profitable company to come here and pollute our waters. They have absolutely no respect for us or our country. We should make it very clear that if this happens again then they will no longer be able to cruise in our waters AND that they will be fined $20million plus the cost to clean up their spill AND all of the coastlines of every island they use. In fact, they should be made to sponsor beach clean ups and provide the volunteers with shirts which say SOME OF THIS IS CARNIVALS SH*T!

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concernedcitizen 5 months, 1 week ago

Yes there dumping and polluting was awful and they should have to pay us .However we never paid Carnival to come here !! They pay us a departure tax for every guest they bring here .We collect about 300 million a year in this tax from cruise ship .Now if you are talking about tax concessions for the private islands remember there are other sun ,sand a sea competing for them ,Caymans , Turks ,,etc etc .We make money off every guest they bring through our waters w the per person tax ,plus what they spent on shore puts it over 400 million a year ,,everyone is entitled to their own opinion however everyone can,t just make up their own facts

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Sickened 5 months, 1 week ago

I'm amazed the US can fine them for crap they do in another country and we don't have anything on our books to fine them. We are a jokey nation.

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sheeprunner12 5 months, 1 week ago

Carnival will dump its shit in Nassau Harbour ........... and our Government will still do nothing.

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birdiestrachan 5 months, 1 week ago

They will dump what ever they wish and Mr. Dark Shadows will look the other way and thump his chest and say how great he is because he has taken plastic bags from shoppers

It is all good for the peoples time voters. They did not even give them duty free washing machines. so that the rich man in the house of assembly will make more money from his duty free machines.

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sheeprunner12 5 months, 1 week ago

What is the difference between Rubis dumping diesel in Marathon ......... and Carnival dumping shit in our waters????????? ......... Ask the politicians to judge this for WE - THE PEOPLE.

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TalRussell 5 months, 1 week ago

Comrade Sheepee, the Imperialists red shirts and PLP have monopoly backaroo on always blame each others as their respective way justify their own bad governing ways, yes, no.....

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 months, 1 week ago

$20 million is a mere pittance of the costs Carnival would incur each and every year if it properly disposed of its sewerage waste and contaminants through the much more costly required processes and procedures.

It's all too obvious Carnival was able to excert great political pressure on U.S. District Court Judge Patricia Sietz through its 'funding' of the 'right' corrupt politicians in the U.S. By her ruling and the relatively small fine she imposed, Judge Sietz has effectively declared that it's okay for cuise ships to treat our Bahamian seas like one big toilet!

And there would certainly seem to be a quid pro quo for Minnis, D'Aguilar and Carl Bethel to all turn a blind eye to Carnival Shiiting all over the Bahamian people!

If proper sewerage and contaminant discharge facilities are required at out ports to prevent illegal dumping in our pristine waters, then the main cruise ship industry companies should be heavily taxed by the Bahamian government to pay for such facilities. It's utterly absurd that we currently pay Carnival a fee per passenger for the privilege of their passengers getting to have their shiit float about in our sea currents. Effective immediately, we should, as an absolute minimum stop paying all fees of any kind to these major poluters. If they want to take their shiit and dump it on other countries, so be it. We will be much better off in the long run.

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John 5 months, 1 week ago

And since the judgment has already been made against Carnival this government can impose fines based on that judgment precedent. But no, w they hug them in the sunshine and give them their own private port to do more dumping.

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TalRussell 5 months, 1 week ago

Lest you comrade bloggers urges too strong willed be levying fines does forget some important stuff, yes, OK......... likes remembering where hell did the October 2015 paid $1.5 million fine go that had been levied against Bahamaland Telecommunications Company (BTC) by the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA), yes, no.................

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