Cruise Ship Fantasy PhotoIn one of the first articles published in the cruise industry’s new blog, entitled "Sailing with Respect," the cruise lines pitched themselves as leaders of the marine environment.  CLIA CEO Christine Duffy proclaimed that:

"As an industry, we are extremely committed to protecting the waters and surrounding environments where we operate to preserve their natural beauty, minimize impact on native species and protect the waters upon which we sail."

CLIA embedded a beautiful stock photo from shutterstock showing colorful coral reefs and an abundance of tropical fish. But like the photo-shopped cruise fantasy image, CLIA’s PR statement is far from the reality of how the cruise industry really operates.

video posted yesterday by a Boston Massachusetts television station explains that officials in the quaint coastal town of Nahant, Massachusetts found a local beach fouled by a huge amount of human excrement, toilet paper, rubber gloves, flip-flops, plastic bottles, dental floss, condoms, personal hygiene items and a urinal cake covered in a mass of disgusting brownish foam.  

Cruise Ship Reality - Dumping Human Waste and GarbageThe officials believe that the sewage and garbage were dumped from a Holland America Line cruise ship which sailed off the coast of northern Massachusetts last month. The harbormaster took photos of the debris and found a cruise ship cabin tag amongst the sewage. 

The HAL PR people are denying everything of course, but there is no dispute that cruise lines dump untreated sewage a few miles from shore.  USA Today has picked up on the story and points out that bulk garbage from cruise ships is supposed to be "incinerated, grinded, compacted or crushed" (which still is a nasty way to pollute the oceans) but do we believe that always happens? 

What makes this case particularly offensive is that this area of coastline is a "No Discharge Zone" so the requirements are even more stringent than normal.   I wonder who the cruise industry folks at CLIA are going to blame for this story?

August 10 2012 Update: CNN picks up the story.  Here’s a comment to the story: "Cruise ships always deny deny deny. People go missing, get assaulted, & everything is swept under the rug even when the big lump is showing."