The Court Appointed Monitor (CAM) in the criminal environmental case pending against Carnival Corporation filed a 100 page report this morning which outlines numerous ongoing environmental violations committed by Carnival and several of its brands in the last 90 days.
The CAM stated that Carnival’s violations during this quarter included incidents related to:
- Air emissions;
- Discharges to the sea, including Advanced Air Quality System washwater, ballast water, black water (sewage), chemicals, food waste, grey water, oil, recreational (e.g., pool/Jacuzzi) water, and solid items/garbage (including plastics);
- Pollution prevention equipment maintenance and operation; and
- Recordkeeping, including alleged training record falsification; unauthorized modification of a logbook with randomly adjusted numbers; multiple instances of missing or inadvertently destroyed logbooks; and errors and discrepancies discovered in log books and records.
The environmental violations are so widespread that it is not possible to discuss them all in one short article. The CAM states in its report that Carnival “continues to violate environmental laws and the ECP (Environmental Compliance Plan), even while efforts aimed at compliance are underway …”
This article will focus on incidents related to Carnival’s air emission violations.
As discussed below, Carnival-owned brands violated air emissions laws eleven times in a span of only eleven weeks. The violations were committed by five Carnival Cruise Line operated cruise ships, three ships operated by Princess Cruises, two operated by Holland America Line and one by P&O Cruises.
The Carnival Freedom violated air emission laws three times in a period of just three weeks.
These incidents included:
- The P&O UK Arcadia burned heavy fuel oil for one hour and forty-two minutes in Spanish waters in violation of a European Union Directive on August 22, 2019;
- The Carnival Dream burned heavy fuel oil for approximately three hours in the North American Emission Control Area in violation of MARPOL Annex VI on August 23, 2019;
- The Star Princess exceeded emission ratio limits due to a drop in seawater flow in the Advanced Air Quality System for approximately 3.5 hours while underway toward Seattle, Washington, in violation of MARPOL Annex VI on August 25, 2019;
- The Holland America Line Noordam burned heavy fuel oil for thirty-three minutes while underway toward Glacier Bay, Alaska, in violation of MARPOL Annex VI on August 26, 2019;
- The Holland America Line Noordam exceeded emission ratio limits for one hour and forty-eight minutes due to a reduced flow rate in the Advanced Air Quality System while underway toward New York in violation of MARPOL Annex VI on September 3, 2019;
- The Carnival Freedom burned approximately 2.8 metric tonnes of heavy fuel oil in the North American Emission Control Area on September 13, 2019;
- The Holland America Line Westerdam burned heavy fuel oil for one hour and two minutes following a blackout in Vancouver, Canada, in violation of MARPOL Annex VI on September 22, 2019;
- The Carnival Freedom exceeded emission ratio limits for one hour and forty minutes due to high load in Galveston, Texas, in violation of MARPOL Annex VI by on September 29, 2019;
- The Pacific Princess burned heavy fuel oil for approximately one hour and forty-five minutes in route to Stockholm, Sweden, in violation of MARPOL Annex VI on October 1, 2019;
- The Carnival Fantasy burned heavy fuel oil for approximately two hours in the North American Emission Control Area in violation of MARPOL Annex VI on October 5, 2019; and
- The Carnival Freedom burned heavy fuel oil for approximately five hours and fifteen minutes in the North American Emission Control Area in violation of MARPOL Annex VI on October 6, 2019.
You can read the CAM’s report here.
Carnival Corporation has been caught violating air emission laws in the past several years while on probation for environmental crimes. The Miami Herald reported that the Carnival P&O Azura burned heavy fuel oil for 16 hours in 2017 while traveling through Iceland’s Environmental Protection Zone.
The CAM also indicated that it will begin to examine issues related to Carnival’s so-called Advanced Air Quality Systems (i.e, scrubbers) as well as prohibited washwater discharges (i.e., sludge) as the new global marine fuel sulfur cap (of 0.5%) set by the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organization goes into effect beginning this week. Our view is that in order to avoid buying more expensive fuel to comply with the IMO’s new sulphur cap, Carnival is using scrubbers – often called “cheat devices” – which simply turn air pollution from Carnival’s fleet of ships into water pollution. Read: Smoke and Mirrors: Cruise Line Scrubbers Turn Air Pollution Into Water Pollution.
Carnival’s PR department has been busy this year responding to reports on social media whenever an older Carnival Cruise Line ship belches smoke, saying that the incident (involving the Carnival Freedom) (photo top and bottom) was merely a “engine turbocharger malfunction” or other mechanical problem which was quickly fixed.
It is clear at this point that, absent meaningful (i.e., hundreds of millions of dollars) in fines and/or significant sanctions (such as prohibiting the docking of Carnival-owned ships in U.S. ports), Carnival will continue to violate environmental laws and ignore the Court’s environmental protection plan.
Next, we will discuss the CAM’s findings regarding Carnival’s widespread illegal discharges of waste water including black water, chlorine and plastics.
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Photo credits: Top – Carnival Freedom – Anonymous; Middle- Carnival Victory – PTZtv.; Bottom – Carnival Freedom – Cayman News Service.