Princess Cruises Causes Uproar with Balloon Release

Princess Cruises Balloon ReleaseOn June 30th, Princess Cruises celebrated the Majestic Princess's maiden cruise to Taiwan by releasing hundreds of red, blue, yellow, and pink balloons from the ship, which it photographed and posted on its Facebook page

The reaction to this environmentally-harmful publicity stunt was immediate. At the time of publishing this article, there were over 900 comments posted on Facebook with the vast majority criticizing the cruise line's conduct:

Disgraceful and irresponsible behavior from Princess Cruises with this mass balloon release  . . . These balloons will end up choking wildlife in the marine environment . . . 

Stop littering the precious ocean with plastic from your marketing stunts . . . 

Shame on you, Princess cruises for releasing HUNDREDS of balloons from your ship. You should know that this causes death to wildlife in the oceans . . . 

This makes me really sad. Those balloons will eventually come down into our oceans. Marine species mistake them as food and consume them. It kills them, and adds to the microplastic crisis and contaminates our seafood. Seriously who was the idiot who decided a balloon release was a good idea? And further, who approved it?

Princess Cruises auto-responded to the hundreds of comments protesting the balloon release by falsely claiming that the balloons were allegedly "biodegradable:"

Hi, we value and respect the environment. Only eco-friendly biodegradable balloons were used in this event.

Of course, vinyl balloons are not remotely biodegradable, as many knowledgeable cruisers explained on the Princess Facebook page. Studies posted by concerned readers conclude that it takes as long as five years before the balloon actually begins to fall apart. But then the smaller parts are consumed by fish, turtles and mammals, as one commentator pointed out: 

Princess Cruises, do you really understand what you said? Balloons don't disintegrate when Princess Cruises Balloon Releasethey hit water or land. Sea life and wildlife ingest them as food. The only biodegradable thing about them is when they rot in the stomach of dead animals. Please educate yourselves. I am shocked to see an enterprise that depends on the oceans for their revenue destroy it like this. Deplorable really!

Many of the hundreds of negative comments were left by people offended that Princess would try and defend the harmful publicity stunt.

This is a cruise line which has earned a reputation over the years as an enemy of the environment. Last December, the U.S. Department of Justice fined Princess $40,000,000 for wide-spread dumping of oil from a number of its cruise ships, by-passing the bilge-water oil separators, falsification of its logs, and lying to the Coast Guard. After it was caught for its long standing environmental crimes, Princess president Jan Swartz issued a public apology, saying that the cruise line was supposedly "committed to environmental practices that protect the marine environment."

Unfortunately, Princess Cruises' statement that it released so-called "eco-friendly" balloons suggests that Princess still hasn't learned much about protecting the marine environment.

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Photo credit:

Top - Princess Cruises Facebook page.

Bottom - BalloonsBlow.org

MSC Cruises - Guardians of the Seas?

A trade organization publication, Cruise Industry News, recently released a promotional, public relations piece about MSC Cruises.

The cruise line assisted in releasing a baby seal, named Selso, back into his natural environment. The 2 year old seal had been stranded on a beach and had undergone rehabilitation at uShaka Sea World,

MSC congratulated itself in this statement:

"We at MSC consider ourselves Guardians of the Seas and treat the oceans of the world with the Garbage Bag Cruise Ship MSC Cruisesutmost respect, believing that by acting green and protecting the biodiversity, we can all help keep the waters blue. Oceans and life in the oceans are inextricably connected with humans and Selso’s heart-warming story is just a proof of that."

The problem with this over-the-top, self-laudatory statement is that it contrasts sharply with the last story which we wrote about MSC. The cruise line was caught dumping plastic garbage bags into the waters of Brazil near a marine sanctuary. You can see the video of the dumping here.

This is a story which Cruise Industry News did not cover.

The discharge of plastics and other non biodegradable materials causes great harm to the marine environment.  It causes injury, suffering and death to marine life, including seals.

MSC Cruises the Guardians of the Seas? 

This award shouldn't be based on a highly publicized public relations stunt but on what the MSC cruise ships are doing routinely at sea, under the cover of at night, far away from the public's eyes.

 

Question of the Day: Are cruise lines still routinely dumping garbage bags at sea?  This was common in the 1980's and even 1990's, but not so much today it seems.  Are some cruise lines still throwing garbage bags into the ocean at night?  Leave a comment below or send us an email: jim@cruiselaw.com.

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