A reader of Cruise News in Brazil sent us an article from a Brazilian newspaper indicating that swimmers (including children) at a public beach near Búzios City, Brazil reported to the hospital with irritated eyes, difficulty breathing, and gastrointestinal problems.
The beach is called Praia da Tartaruga (Turtle Beach).
According to the newspaper Globo, public environmental officials in Brazil reportedly believe that the health problems may have been caused by discharge from one of three cruise ships in the area.
Samples were taken from the three cruise ships which called on the city of Búzios (north of Rio de Janeiro) to compare them with contaminated water collected at the public beach.
The three cruise ships have not been identified. However, the newspaper contains a photograph of the Royal Caribbean Splendor of the Seas. The newspaper indicates that the aerial photograph was taken by Secretary of State for Environment, Indio da Costa. Discolored water was observed around the cruise ship. The Brazilian official is quoted saying (translated):
"Still can not know what contaminated water, but we are almost certain that the problem was caused by the release of untreated sewage or treated irregularly by one of the ships docked in Buzios."
The health authorities closed the beach due to the polluted water.
The newspaper states that fines for polluting the waters of Brazil can reach $50 million, according to Brazil's Secretary of State for Environment.
The Brazilian cruise organization denied that the polluted water came from cruise ships. It said that the cruise companies comply with the guidelines a set by the MARPOL Convention (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships).
It is unknown to us whether the Sovereign of the Seas or any other cruise ships were dumping anything in the Brazilian waters, or whether the discolored water around the Sovereign as shown in the photographs is attributable to silt being churned up by the ship's engines, the decomposition of algae or some other explanation.
The test results are expected to be ready by Wednesday. We will identify the other cruise ships in the area as soon as we obtain this information.
We recently discussed an incident involving a MSC cruise ship which reportedly was caught dumping black garbage bags off the coast of Brazil near a marine sanctuary, after making a transatlantic crossing. A cruise passenger videotaped the dumping.
Photos Credit: Indio da Costa, Secretary of Environment from the State of Rio de Janeiro via Globo.com