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Norwegian Admits Dumping In Ocean

Transport Minister Renward Wells.

Transport Minister Renward Wells.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

THE government is clamping down on cruise ships operating in Bahamian waters, with Transport Minister Renward Wells declaring yesterday discharges at sea will not be tolerated.

His statement came as he revealed officials recently learned of a discharge in Bahamian waters from a Norwegian Cruise Line vessel, however he did not provide specifics. This incident was voluntarily reported to the Bahamas Maritime Authority, he said. A spokesperson from BMA said by next week, the government will be in a better position to report on the specifics of Norwegian’s waste dumping. 

Last month, The Tribune reported that Carnival Cruise Line had been caught polluting Bahamian waters yet again in 2019 after being found to have committed the infraction in 2017. Last year, Carnival Corporation reached a settlement with US federal prosecutors that would see it pay $20m in fines for violating terms of its probation in relation to its dumping. 

“Let me make one thing clear and in doing so emphatically state that we will defend our environmental sovereignty,” Mr Wells told the House of Assembly yesterday. “Those who have breached our environmental laws will be made to account. The pristine lands and waters of The Bahamas (are) the inheritance of our people. It belongs to all Bahamians, to all of you and to future generations of our beautiful nation.”

He also said: “Your government is moving forward on behalf of the Bahamas to tighten, monitor and enforce our environmental law and protections across the board: including but not limited to prohibition, identification and testing, shipboard procedure; reporting, regulation and enforcement.

“We will ensure strict compliance at all times. Your government will leave as a legacy to our people the elements of a modern, effective comprehensive mechanism for safeguarding our uniquely beautiful environment.”

Repeated incidents of sea pollution, Mr Wells assured the public, had set off a proactive policing and prevention strategy to safeguard against future incidents. As a result, several comprehensive measures will be taken to deal with cruise ships plying Bahamian waters.

Mr Wells said ministry officials circulated the strict definition of Bahamian territorial waters as far as any discharges at sea are concerned.

“We drew, as a nation, in the Archipelagic and Territories Act, a line around our entire archipelago and we advised the cruise ship industry and all international shipping, that anything in this line constitutes the territorial waters of the Bahamas.

“We absolutely prohibited any discharges at sea within this boundary – even discharges that are considered safe by other countries. We will not permit and we will not tolerate any discharges at sea within the waters of our Commonwealth.”

Additionally, the Bamboo Town MP said officials here were closely working with the help of the BMA to ensure there was close communication with all major cruise lines. He said the cruise lines had provided the government with access to ship records and personnel, those on ships, those ashore and with their cooperation, officials plan to develop a broad database of potential and past discharge locations along major routes.

At the same time, efforts are being made to rapidly access all key locations in the archipelago. The exercise is designed sample and analyse data to determine any remedial action needed, and to assure absolute safety. Premised on this information, Mr Well said government will produce baseline data and to allow the ministry to follow any evolution of quality over time.

“We will look to the cruise industry to fund these ongoing studies, as necessary; as well as funding the cost of remediation of any environmental damage found,” the minister said at Parliament yesterday.

Further, clear lines of reporting of any incidents or possible risks were established to the Bahamas Maritime Authority and to a national reporting hotline for all vessels under the Bahamas flag and other vessels within Bahamians waters.

Pointing to the recently passed Environmental Planning and Protection Act 2019 and new Merchant Shipping Bill, which is still being prepared, Mr Wells insisted the country’s ability to hold wrongdoers to account and apply appropriate penalties when required will be enhanced.

In the wake of the most recent reports on Carnival’s dumping in Bahamian waters, Attorney General Carl Bethel said last month that the government will seek compensation under recently passed environment laws.

Comments

Chucky 6 months ago

Nobody cares about lip service.

How did we get to the point where it’s expected and acceptable to babble on in threatening language about enforcement of laws etc , meanwhile nothing is done.

If these bigmouth morons just took some action, they could babble on about achievements, if the must.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 6 months ago

Ditto that...all of these jokers in cabinet blow nothing but hot air....especially Wells.

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Sickened 6 months ago

If we don't fine anyone then what's the point of having laws in place. Even if it was a mistake and they apologize profusely, we still need to fine them.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 6 months ago

For decades Carnival's cruise ships have been dumping the shiite and urine of their passengers together with petroleum based contaminants all over the place in the territorial waters of the Bahamas. And they're still doing so with complete impunity as our corrupt Minnis-led FNM government cuts backroom deals with them.

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shonkai 6 months ago

Have you ever wondered where that black soot on your cars and houses comes form?

From an article a while ago in Europe:

Luxury cruise giant emits 10 times more air pollution (SOx) than all of Europe’s cars – study

47 Ships, 100 million cars

Imagine those numbers for Nassau, same amount of ships, 200,000 cars.

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Chucky 6 months ago

It’s actually much worse than you stated. https://www.industrytap.com/worlds-15...">https://www.industrytap.com/worlds-15...

However in our case; like cruise and container ships, our power plants burn bunker oil. Bunker c is where the black suit comes from, 24/7 from our very own source.

Makes me wonder if we had greener power, maybe I’d be white. Lol

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bahamarich 6 months ago

Well that is a good first step. Now how about doing something about the dumping that Bahamians do all over the island of New Providence. Sunday mornings you drive by any park or beach and see the evidence of the party from the night before. Garbage everywhere and that gets into the sea too. I know I spend hours a week cleaning it up.

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joeblow 6 months ago

I think I will take a break from fish caught in Bahamian waters for a while!

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bogart 6 months ago

Nassau Harbour is one of the top five Cruise Ships Harbours perhaps even the second.Lots of Cruise Ships coming and going through our waters.

Just looking at all of these Cruise Ships and 3-4-5 thousamds on board each ship doing their dailies using 5 gallons each and the Minister wid experience cannot be raising questions all this years on where these highly competative businesses ships likely dumps waste. Way past time that the Govt and Cruise Ships find some suitable island and create Waste Treatment Plants. The continued duck and seek and catch me if you can process is unproductive. Creating Waste Treatment Plant creates jobs, keeps Bahamian waters clean, monitors ships volumes created and treated etcetc Cruise Ships wins, Bahamas wins, Tourism wins, Ocean wins.

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concerned799 6 months ago

When can we revoke their permissions to come into Bahamian waters? Surely such repeat violations make them unsuitable to become the focus of our tourism industry and it is not in our interests to allow the cruise industry to grow any more powerful than it is already.

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ThisIsOurs 6 months ago

Didn't they also say they were going to appoint someone whose sole job would be checking discharges from the cruise ships? I wonder what that job title would be? @Tal?

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