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Yesterday, we reported that Jamaica and the Cayman Islands informed two Carnival cruise ships that they are prohibited from calling on ports in these countries over concerns with coronavirus. Our report was based on information from crew members on the Carnival Freedom and Carnival Horizon who wished to remain anonymous.

We also requested information from Carnival’s public relations department for information regarding this issue. Unfortunately, we did not receive a response to our inquiries.

As we reported, Carnival informed passengers on the Carnival Horizon that they would not be permitted to go ashore in Ocho Rios today.  Passengers on the Carnival Freedom would not be allowed to get off of the ship in Montego Bay. And passengers on both ships would not be permitted ashore in George Town, Grand Cayman later this week.

However, it was Carnival Cruise Lines, not these ports of call, that decided that guests would not be allowed ashore in these countries.

In a letter to its guests, Carnival stated that it allegedly wanted to “avoid any possibility of a visibility of a visit to a destination where there is uncertainty or risk being turned away . . . To be clear, there is no health situation to trigger this concern, but we are making this change to avoid even the possibility of a disruption. We understand that some guests will be disappointed and trust that they understand that this decision is being made to protect their vacation and to maximize their experience with us.”

Carnival’s full letter to the passengers stated that it was:

Later yesterday evening, CNN reported that Carnival had voluntarily made these changes.

“Carnival Cruise Lines is changing some ship itineraries as some countries are not allowing ships to dock because of concerns over coronavirus. Carnival said in a statement it is changing itineraries for ships scheduled to sail to Grand Cayman and Jamaica this week. ‘A number of Caribbean destinations continue to work through their policies with regards to cruise ship visits. And while we are following all US CDC and World Health Organization screening protocols and guidelines, we want to avoid any possibility of a visit to a destination where there is uncertainty or we risk being turned away,’ the cruise line said in a statement.”

The Acting Port Director of the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands contacted our Cruise Law News Facebook page yesterday evening and made it clear that it was Carnival that dropped the Cayman from a port for these recent sailings:

“… we have not blocked any Carnival Ship from calling the Cayman Islands … We were informed this afternoon that Carnival had altered its itinerary for three of their ships, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Horizon and Carnival Freedom. The call from Carnival Paradise has been reinstated by them. However, I can confidently state that we did not block any calls for any Carnival ship.”

Last week, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands blocked the MSC Meraviglia from docking when the ship called on Ocho Rios, Jamaica and later when the ship was scheduled to call on George Town, Grand Cayman due to concerns with the coronavirus after a crew member apparently had influenza. The MSC cruise ship later sailed on to Cozumel, Mexico where authorities initially prohibited it from docking. Mexico later reconsidered after health officials in Cozumel found no evidence that any of the passengers or crew members had coronavirus.

Several publication reported that these itinerary disruptions, which kept the passengers bottled-up on the MSC ship, may has caused tension to escalate on the ship. A fight later broke out between guests and crew members, resulting in the ship’s security staff pepper-spraying some of the unruly passengers.

Several readers have suggested that Carnival’s decision to prohibit these two ships from calling on Jamaica and the Cayman Islands was in retaliation to these countries’ decision to stop, at least temporarily, cruise ships from calling at their ports. In my view, Carnival has always traditionally considered itself the “big dog” on the block and bristles and bullies when Caribbean ports of call make unilateral decisions which Carnival disagrees with. One poster on our Facebook page stated:

“Carnival is putting these countries on notice. Were taking our business elsewhere for irresponsible actions on their part.”

As matters now stand, the Carnival Freedom’s will call on Key West today, followed by a sea day, then Belize and Cozumel and return to Galveston on Sunday. The Carnival Horizon will call on Amber Cover in the Dominican Republic, Grand Turk, then a sea day, and Nassau, Bahamas on Thursday before it returns to Miami on Friday.

Vacationing families, who paid to spend time in Jamaica and the Caymans, will now visit other ports, including Nassau which is rarely anyone’s favorite port. This decision to intentionally disrupt their guests’ vacations seems secondary to Carnival’s decision to send a message to these powerless ports not to make plans that affect Carnival, even if it involves decisions which these sovereign countries think is best to protect the health of their own citizens.

March 3, 2020 Update: A Jamaican newspaper reports this morning information which should provide insight into Carnival’s thought process:

“Jamaica is at risk of losing at least three ship calls this week as a ‘stand-off’ over protocols between the Ministry of Health and Wellness and Carnival Cruise Limited deepened last night, with the cruise line threatening to bypass the country if the Government failed to soften its stance on safeguards against the deadly novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. Up to last night, ministry officials were locked in discussions with senior executives of the cruise line who warned of their intention if local authorities did not relent on the stringency of protocol demands.”

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Photo credit: Roger W from Sarasota, Florida, U.S.A. – George Town – Carnival Freedom, CC BY-SA 2.0, commons / wikimedia.

Late Thursday night, a brawl erupted on a MSC cruise ship which had been denied permission to dock in several Caribbean ports this week over fears of coronavirus, according to several news outlets.

Jamaica and the Cayman Islands blocked the MSC Meraviglia from docking when the ship called on Ocho Rios, Jamaica and later when the ship was scheduled to call on George Town, Grand Cayman. The MSC cruise ship later sailed on to Cozumel, Mexico where authorities initially prohibited it from docking. Mexico later reconsidered after health officials in Cozumel found no evidence that any of the passengers or crew members had coronavirus.

Several newspaper reported that tensions were high on the ship due to these itinerary disruptions which kept the passengers bottled-up on the MSC ship. Many passengers, including several hundred Italians, were concerned that they would be quarantined and not be able to return to Miami, where the cruise originated on February 16th and is scheduled to end on March 1st.

Several passengers took videos of the melee’ which broke out between guests on the ship (and what appears to be a guest vandalizing a piano) including when security personnel responded by pepper-spraying at least one passenger. The Italian tabloid TPI has a full account of the incident and a video of a guest being sprayed in face and then taken down by a half-dozen security guards wearing black.

According to TPI, MSC Cruises issued the following public relations statements regarding the brawl:

” . . . the video can be misunderstood . . . Unfortunately two drunk guests became aggressive and violent towards some crew musicians who were entertaining all the people in the ship’s lobby. Once on the scene, the members of the security service were forced to use a minimum of force necessary to calm the two guests in question, with whom the matter was subsequently clarified and resolved in a peaceful and serene way. ”

“It was clear that this was an unpleasant episode, but unfortunately it was necessary to intervene to avoid that the attitude of these two people could endanger not only the musicians who had been attacked but also other guests.”

It should be expected that there will be other port states refusing to authorize cruise ships to call on their ports whenever there are incidents where passengers or crew show symptoms of flu-like symptoms, even if the symptoms are later found to be attributable to influenza.

La situation actuelle sur le #MSCMeraviglia 😞 Après avoir été refusé en Jamaïque, aux îles Caymans, il a pu accoster au Mexique après 3 jours de mer.

Posted by Pensez voyage on Friday, February 28, 2020

MSC Cruise told the Daily Mail that the measures by Jamaica and Grand Cayman were “born out of fear, not best medical practice,” and caused “unnecessary and unjustifiable anxiety.”

MSC may be right, but its security staff responds by pepper-spraying a guest in the face? (see video here).

MSC apparently will refund all of the guests on the ship their cruise fare due to the “disruptive nature of their vacation.”

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Photo credit: Estormiz CC0, commons / wikimedia.

Video credit: Respective Instagram and Facebook owners as noted.

Today we received the following information from several crew members on the Voyager of the Seas which is sailing an Australia itinerary after departing from Sydney. The future scheduled ports include Mystery Island and Vila in Vanuatu as well as several ports of call in New Caledonia – Mare, Lifou, and  Noumea:

“The Voyager of the Seas has 2 or 3 crew members with flu-like symptoms aboard. The Vanatu and New Caledonia islands are not permitting the ship to disembark passengers due to concerns over coronavirus. Noumea initially said that it will accept passengers and crew but a few hours ago no one was allowed to disembark after the ship which docked for a short time. It was a big mess on the ship with guests upset and security was involved with a dispute with the guest relations desk.”

A passenger also posted the following information on Twitter:

Royal Caribbean has not responded to this tweet.

Cruise lines obviously do not want to see a repeat of the Diamond Princess which underwent a quarantine which resulted in over 700 passengers and crew being infected with COVID-19. Many ports of call are particularly sensitive to permitting cruise ships to call with any passengers or crew members who may have flu-like symptoms.

In a widely reported news, several cruise ships have been denied permission to call on ports at various locations around the world over coronavirus concerns. The MSC Meraviglia was denied access to Ocho Rios, Jamaica and the Caymans after a crew member apparently had influenza. It was eventually permitted to dock in Cozumel after the ship was given a clean bill of health.

According to a Costa ship employee, on the Costa Mediterranea: “Mauritius authorities banned Italian guests on the ship from entering the country due to coronavirus concerns. Also shore leave in Port Louis, Mauritius for Italian crew members was cancelled.” Also, Mauritius is blocking several hundred people (passengers and crew) from Italy who arrived on an Alitalia flight.

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Photo credit: Voyager of the Seas in Sydney, Australia – Amnesiac86 CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia.

Several new sources, including the popular Cruise Radio Blog, are reporting that the Regal Princess recently failed a recent sanitation inspection (conducted earlier this month) by the United States Public Health. The USPH gave the ship a score of just 77. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published its official report for the inspection.

USPH inspectors found flies and soiled surfaces and equipment in the galley, inadequate acute gastroenteritis logs and reports, clogged nozzles and drain lines, potentially unhygienic swimming pools and hot tubs, a child in diapers in a pool, and a food employee with long, dirty fingernails (1 mm past his fingers), included in the 44 violations.

This is the lowest sanitation score in the seven year history of this cruise ship. It ties the lowest score ever given to a cruise ship operated by a major cruise line (like Carnival, Norwegian, or Royal Caribbean). It is the lowest sanitation score ever for a cruise ship operated by Princess Cruises.

Ironically, the Regal Princess received a perfect score during the last inspection two years ago, as well as during its first three inspections from 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The purpose of the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to assist the cruise ship industry to “prevent and control the introduction, transmission, and spread of gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses on cruise ships.” VSP operates under the authority of the U.S. Public Health Service Act.

The VSP applies only to cruise ships calling on U.S. ports. Few countries outside of the U.S. inspect cruise ships for sanitation problems.

USPH sanitation inspectors conduct inspections twice a year on cruise ships when they are in a U.S. port. The inspections are supposedly a surprise, although many crew members have stated that federal inspectors sometimes give advance notice of the inspections to the cruise ships. A score of 85 or below constitutes a failed sanitation score, and often leads to the firing of the shipboard Food & Beverage department heads and/or managers and always result in increased work by the hardworking shipboard employees.

The Regal Princess joins the ranks of several other Carnival Corporation-owned cruise ships which failed USPH inspections in the last several years, including the Carnival Breeze (77), Carnival Fantasy (77), Carnival Triumph (78), Carnival Vista (79), Carnival Liberty (80), Golden Princess (81), Carnival Legend (83), Carnival Paradise (83), and Carnival Liberty (83).

Princess Cruises has been in the news lately on a non-stop basis after the failed quarantine of the Diamond Princess where nearly 700 passenger and crew member, so far, have been infected with coronavirus. Additional guests and crew from this ship will probably test positive in the next several weeks.

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Photo credit: Bahnfrend – CC BY-SA 4.0 via commons / wikimedia.

The Italian news agency ANSA and public broadcaster RAI reported this morning that a passenger from Hong Kong on the Costa Smeralda has been found to be showing symptoms (a fever) of what is suspected to be coronavirus. CNN reports that the 54 year old woman and her husband are now were being kept separately in solitary confinement on the Carnival Corporation-owned Costa cruise ship.

The Guardian reports that “more than 6,000 people have been prevented from disembarking from a cruise ship in the Italian port city of Civitavecchia after the liner was placed on lockdown over two suspected cases of the deadly coronavirus.”

The passenger flew on January 25th from Hong Kong with her husband to Milan, Italy and then traveled to Savona where they boarded the Costa Smeralda on January 26th and sailed to Barcelona and Palma on January 27th/28th. The ship called on Civitavecchia today.

A person infected with coronavirus can spread the spread the disease to others even though they feel well and are not exhibiting any symptoms.  British epidemiologists are expecting  infections to explode to 190,000 cases by as early as next week, according to the Washington Post.

Yesterday, we reported that several cruise lines are still refusing to cancel cruise to China and refund cruises, including Celebrity Cruises (Celebrity Millennium), Seabourn Cruises (Seabourn Ovation), NCL (Norwegian Jade) and Regent Seven Seas Cruises  (Seven Seas Voyager). 

The incubation period of the virus is reportedly 10-14 days. So it is virtually impossible to screen thousands of passengers who may board a cruise ship during embarkation.

The exponential explosion of the virus is causing cruise lines to lose many millions of dollars in profits. A equity manager recently told Yahoo Finance that every cancellation of a cruise is causing a loss of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000 in revenue. The mantra of “your health and safety is our highest priority” which cruise lines tell concerned customers wishing to cancel upcoming cruises seems dubious. Many cruise lines which refused refunds have seem mostly guided by efforts to maintain their profits rather than a genuine concern for the health of either their passengers or crew members.

Are you aware of any cruise ships which are still scheduled to cruise to Hong Kong or a port in mainland China?

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Update: Numerous people on Twitter are saying that the preliminary coronavirus tests on the two cruise passengers are negative. But I have not seen any “official” reports so far . . .

Photo credit: HenSti –  CC BY-SA 4.0

Several major cruise lines, including Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line and Seabourn Cruises, are refusing to cancel voyages which call on ports in China as concerns grow about the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. The New York Times published an article this morning that Hong Kong has restricted travel from mainland China due to the deadly outbreak as infections reportedly exceed 4,500.

As of this morning, these companies have also decided not to refund their customers’ cruise fare for cruises scheduled to call on Chinese ports.  A regular commentator on our firm’s Cruise Law News Facebook Page states:

“Sadly Celebrity Millennium is canceling nothing. Many are writing about it on the Celebrity Captain’s Club Facebook Page. As a result many are going as they have spent a lot. Celebrity is offering no credit or cancel option without losing it all. Pretty shocking.”

A crew member employed by Seabourn who is working aboard the Seabourn Ovation, and who wishes to stay anonymous, states:

“I guess my company doesn’t have the plan on cancelling our itinerary to Hong Kong this 1st and 2nd of February. Worst, it’s our embarkation day. They think they can avoid an infected guest going onboard on that day despite the incubation period of the virus which is 10-14 days. I hope they will change their mind. Coz its like we are going to a suicide mission…”

The crew member in question states that Seabourn and its parent company HAL/Carnival Corporation do not have any new medical procedures to screen passengers who may have been exposed to coronavirus.

Cruise travel writer Gene Sloan wrote an article yesterday titled: Cruise Lines Begin Canceling China Sailings as Virus Worries Grow which mentioned that Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises are both stopping operations out of China because of the virus. Mr. Sloan writes that “Both Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises said passengers on the canceled sailings would receive full refunds. Costa Cruises didn’t address refunds in its statement.”

However, Holland America Line (HAL) which operates the Westerdam, which is scheduled to depart from Hong Kong this Saturday on a 14-night voyage to Taiwan and Japan that ends in Shanghai, refuses to either cancel the cruise or provide refunds to its customers. HAL will then sail the Westerdam on a 14-night voyage out of Shanghai that is scheduled to include calls at the Chinese ports of Qingdao and Tianjin (the port for Beijing).

HAL states that in light of the outbreak, it will allegedly implement “stepped-up screening procedures” for its cruise ships, including a “requirement for temperature and questionnaire screening for persons from affected areas.”

Thousands of people confined to one cruise ship during an epidemic is a recipe for disaster even if the cruise line took peoples’ temperature prior to boarding. reed. The incubation period for coronavirus is up to 14 days, so passengers may show no signs of illness prior to boarding, while still being able to transmit the illness.

The anonymous crew member sent our office a copy of a HAL pamphlet (which also applies to Seabourn cruise ships) explaining how crew members should respond to guest inquiries about the feared virus, “should a guest inquire about our procedures or the company’s response to the illness, you can simply reply:”

“Your health and safety are always are top priority. Our medical experts are always in close contact with international health organizations. We are taking many precautions – as we always do – to prevent illness onboard.”

Passengers aboard the Seabourn Ovation, which will be sailing from Vietnam across the South China Sea on January 31st, and then calling on Hong Kong on February 1st and 2nd, will be sailing to a port which other cruise lines have prudently cancelled on their itineraries.

It’s a shame that Celebrity, HAL and Seabourn are refusing to cancel and refund the cruises to Chinese ports and, in the case of HAL/Seabourn, requiring crew members to issue talking points dreamed up by clueless shore-side executives. Perhaps now that Hong Kong is closing its China borders as the coronavirus spreads (as of this morning per CNN) these greedy and irresponsible cruise lines will bend to public pressure.

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Update: A crew member aboard the M/S Westerdam tells us that today HAL replaced Shanghai with Yokohoma, but the HAL cruise ship is still calling on Hong Kong on February 1st.

January 29, 2020 update: Other cruise lines, like NCL and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, are reportedly refusing to cancel cruises to Hong Kong and refund cruise fares.  The Norwegian Jade remains scheduled to sail on January 30 and February 17, 2020 from Hong Kong and is refusing to issue refunds to its customers. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is refusing to cancel or refund the Bali to Hong Kong voyage on the Seven Seas Voyager leaving on February 12, 2020 and calling on Hong Kong on February 29 and March 1, 2020.

February 2, 2020 Update: Westerdam Cruise Ship Stuck in South China Sea Because of Philippines Coronavirus Ban – perhaps a fitting result for greedy HAL after it refuses to cancel (or offer refunds) and permits another 800 passengers to board in Hong Kong.

Photo credit:  New York Times; Westerdam – Master0Garfield –  CC BY-SA 4.0.

The U.S. Coast Guard states that it is searching this evening for a person who went overboard this evening from Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas which was moored at port (at Pier 3) in Old Juan, Puerto Rico.

Cruceros Puerto Rico initially reported on the incident, and published a number of photographs of the scene of the overboard.

Major newspapers are not stating any details regarding the person who went overboard.

The man reportedly went over the rails from the “10th floor” of the cruise ship.

Autoridades buscan a persona que se alega cayó del crucero Oasis of the Seas a la bahía de San Juan. #busqueda #rescate #oasisofthesea

Posted by Maribel Meléndez Fontán on Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The ship was chartered for a week long Atlantis cruise from Fort Lauderdale. Eight years ago, a passenger went overboard from the Allure of the Seas during an Atlantis cruise.

The last time that a passenger went overboard from the Oasis of the Seas was nearly four years ago when a guest fell from the Royal Caribbean ship which was sailing in the Caribbean. There was a widely circulated video of the man going overboard.

Four years ago, another cruise passenger from this cruise ship fell overboard as the ship sailed to Cozumel. The Disney Magic, sailing the same route, then rescued the passenger. Royal Caribbean had served the young man over 20 alcoholic drinks in the hours prior to the guest going into the water.

According to cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein, there have been 361 people who have gone overboard from cruise ships since 2000.

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Update: Divers reportedly recovered the body of a “white male” according to a passenger’s post on Twitter:

January 23, 2020 Update: News reports state that the man, whose name has not been released, was 46 years old and from Naples, Florida. CBS News reports that he apparently jumped overboard.

Photo and video credit: Maribel Meléndez Fontán (Facebook); Eric Patton (Twitter); David Begnaud (Twitter).

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, a global network of senior marketing executives, selected Carnival Corporation as one of the “Bruised, Battered and Embattled Brands” in 2019.

According to the advertising publication Campaign, the CMO Council selected 20 companies to be on its “bruised and battered” dis-honor roll. Carnival Corporation joined the likes of other seriously challenged companies such as Juul and Boeing. “Challenged companies” may well be a euphemism. Juul manufactures an inherently dangerous and deadly product with its adolescent-attracting flavored vapes. And Boeing is under intense public scrutiny after aviation authorities grounded its defective 737 Max jets which are prone to deadly crashes.

Carnival made the list for its continuing environmental crimes, as well as the recent spectacle of two of its cruise ships colliding in Mexico.  Regarding its environmental crimes, Carnival lied about the use of illegal by-pass valves on the Carnival-owned Princess operated cruise ships and conspired to cover the crimes up.

Recently, Carnival’s CEO Arnold Donald came under pressure from a Federal Court in Miami to stop the cruise giant’s widespread and ongoing disregard of environmental laws.

Earlier last year, after the presiding Federal Court judge placed Carnival on court-supervised probation, she ordered CEO Donald to appear in Court. The court scolded him for operating what she described as a “recidivist criminal corporation.”

Mr. Donald faced what most executives would consider to be humiliating treatment when he had to stand before the court, take an oath and admit to numerous environmental felonies and obstruction of justice committed by Carnival. But Carnival kept polluting the air and water.

The Court found that Carnival violated the terms of its probation and committed additional violations of environmental laws by discharging waste water (both sewage and grey water), chemicals, and plastic co-mingled with food and trash, as well as illegally burning high sulphur fuel. The Court sanctioned Carnival $20,000,000 last summer after fining it $40,000,000 three years ago.

Just last month, Carnival announced via a press release that it joined the Getting to Zero Coalition, an alliance of large corporations which claim to be interested in accelerating the decarbonization of the  shipping industry.

The coalition members, comprised of an odd assortment of shipping, fossil fuel companies and other large corporations, state that their goal is “commercially viable zero emission vessels powered by zero emission fuels by 2030.” The coalition admits that this goal is a maritime “moon-shot” ambition.

Many critics of Carnival view the cruise company joining the decarbonization club to be a publicity stunt, particularly after the court-appointed monitor (CAM) in the pollution case recently found that Carnival-owned ships are still routinely violating international laws governing smoke stack emissions. Just last week, the CAM found that Carnival-owned brands violated air emissions laws eleven times in a span of only eleven weeks in August to October of last year. The violations were committed by  cruise ships operated by four Carnival brands – Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and P&O Cruises.

Carnival’s membership in the zero emissions club is hard to take seriously when its ships are belching carbon in ports. In the last several years, Carnival also implemented so-called Advanced Air Quality Systems (i.e, scrubbers) to wash emissions from its stacks  in order to comply with the IMO’s new sulphur limit. Carnival elected this alternative in order to avoid purchasing more expensive low sulphur fuel. Carnival further chose to use “open loop” scrubber systems which discharge the toxic sludge from the stacks directly into the water. This is a cheaper alternative to “closed loop” scrubber systems which require operators to responsibly dispose of the sludge waste water ashore.

Turning air pollution into water pollution is hardly a solution that will pass the court’s scrutiny, in my opinion, notwithstanding Carnival’s public relations efforts.

Last June, the Miami New Times reported on Carnival bragging about receiving a “Corporate Citizenship” award weeks after the Miami Herald broke the news that the company had been caught falsifying records, communicating in secret with the U.S. Coast Guard, covering up dirty ships before inspectors could check them out, and, most notably, dumping polluted waste (including plastic) into water near the Bahamas.

The New Times characterized the best “corporate citizens” award by Corporate responsibility (CR) Magazine as “extremely dubious.” The newspaper pointed out that other CR award winners included “the Gap and Nike (famous for using sweatshop workers), tobacco giant Altria (which owns Marlboro cigarettes), big banks including CitiGroup and Goldman Sachs, pharmaceutical giants such as Merck, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson, and even carbon-polluting power and oil companies, including XCEL Energy and ConocoPhillips.”

Alleged-model-citizen-now-turned-battered-and-bruised-recidivist-corporate-felon Carnival is facing the reality that attempts at self-promotion, while actively polluting the air and sea, will not go far in a federal courtroom and will backfire in the court of public opinion.

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Photo credit: Top – Carnival ships – Matthew Bruin via CNBC; middle – Arnold Donald – CNBC; lower – Scrubber sludge from Princess Star Princess cruise ship – City of Ketchikan; bottom – Carnival Freedom cruise ship- anonymous.

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.

The Carnival Elation discharged “gray water” while docked at Port Canaveral yesterday morning, according to the Florida Today publication.

Twenty-two metric tons of gray water (over 6,000 gallons) were spilled, according to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

Carnival and the Port Downplay the Pollution

The newspaper suggested that “a valve was inadvertently opened” during ballast operations. Carnival’s PR department released a press statement yesterday afternoon, stating “while Carnival Elation was offloading water from its ballast systems, which helps balance the ship for navigational purposes, a gray water valve was inadvertently opened, discharging treated gray water from the plumbing and shower systems for a short period. No sewage was offloaded.”

The port’s director of communications and public affairs, Steven Linden, also down-played the incident. According to Florida Today, he said that it was only “grey water, and no human waste or anything biological. The majority of the discharge is just water, and not a threat to the environment or wildlife.”

The Truth About Grey Water

The truth of the matter, or course, is that grey water often contains harmful chemicals, detergents, pathogens, bacteria, metals, food items and nutrients. The Ocean Conservancy reports that grey water can “lead to oxygen depletion, spread pathogenic bacteria and viruses and increase nutrient levels in the surrounding ecosystem. Higher nutrient levels can lead to toxic algal blooms and dead zones that can cause harmful disturbances throughout food chains.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that untreated gray water has similar characteristics to domestic sewage, and fecal coliform concentrations in untreated vessel gray water are one to three times higher than untreated domestic wastewater.

Carnival Files Quarterly Pollution Report and TPA Audit Findings Revealing Other Grey Water Discharges

A couple of days ago, Carnival Corporation recently filed its “December 31, 2019 Quarterly Issue Tracker and its response to the TPA (Third Party Auditor) Final Audit Findings (Major Non-Conformities)” in the criminal pollution case where it remains on probation (case no. 16-20897 – Judge Seitz). In these documents, Carnival discusses its discharges of grey water from a number of Carnival-owned cruise ships and its “corrective and preventative action plan:”

  • June 2018 – Queen Mary 2, in Phuket, Thailand- a grey water tank overflowed directly overboard for approximately five minutes after ship employees were distracted by numerous alarms sounding which were unrelated to the grew water tank.
  • August 2019 – Carnival Paradise, at anchor in Grand Cayman – grey water overflowed for five minutes during an internal grey water transfer.
  • September 2019 – Carnival Imagination – heading to Long Beach, California when 50 liters of grey water overflowed when the line became clogged with food particles washed into a drain from the pizza galley.

Holland America Line’s Westerdam discharged over 22,000 gallons of grey water into Glacier Bay National Park in September of 2018. Details of the illegal dumping are contained in the Alaskan Notice of Violation. The notice claims that the discharge was a “mistake,” but the discharge continued on for 25 minutes.

Other Illegal Discharges From Carnival Owned Ships

The court filings also discussed a dozen incidents in the last year where Carnival owned ships illegally discharged black water / sewage /permeate overboard, as well as another dozen incidents when Carnival ships discharged chlorine water overboard in a wide variety of swimming pool and jacuzzi incidents.

The vast majority of the non-conformities involved many dozens of incidents when non-food items, including plastics, were found in food bins and tanks ready to be discharged into the water.

Over the next few days, we will discuss these incidents, as well as other incidents where Carnival ships illegally discharged bilge / ballast water, oil, and chemicals overboard.

$60,000,000 In Criminal Fines In Just 3 Years

Carnival Corporation has been fined over $60,000,000 in the last three years for widespread illegal oil pollution and discharge of grey water, oily bilge water, chemicals, and plastic items mixed together with food waste and garbage.

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Hargcb – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia.

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