This article in the Sun-Sentinel describes how Carnival Cruise Lines has filed a lawsuit against BP, Transocean and Halliburton over the Gulf oil spill. They claim the spill got their ships dirty, added to cleaning expenses, drove passengers away and cost them revenue.
There’s something insidiously ironic about one of the cruise lines biggest polluters suing for damages caused by someone else’s pollution.
Back in May of 2003, Carnival admitted they illegally dumped contaminated water into California ports. At the time, they were already under 5 years of federal probation for violating environmental laws. In 2002 they pled guilty to dumping oil-contaminated waste into the ocean and then falsifying records as part of an attempted cover-up, ultimately paying an $18 million fine.
Not much has changed since then and in 2009 they were still ranked among the worst polluters in the industry. Federal laws are weak or inconsistent, and when coastal states try to tighten their regulations the cruise lines simply dump their waste into the open ocean (beyond the 3-mile limit) or take it to Canada.
It’s worth noting that at the time, Carnival seemed to downplay the impact of the spill on its operations. Just two months after the Deepwater Horizon exploded, their CEO Micky Arison said cruises had been virtually unaffected and that bookings hadn’t slowed down. He said his ships didn’t need cleaning at that point and he commended the captains for their ability to avoid the oil.
Now they’re suing for negligence, fraudulent concealment and punitive damages. Yet when it comes to claims of negligence, Carnival has escaped liability even when one of its physicians injures a passenger due to medical malpractice.
Carnival may be preserving its legal rights with this latest lawsuit, but it’s dripping with hypocrisy.
Today’s article is written by a guest blogger, David Warren, who is a reader of Cruise Law News. David is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in Political Science & Sociology. He is currently studying for the law school admissions test and plans on attending law school.
With the insight shown in this article, we are confident that David will be a fine lawyer.