BUNKER INDEX :: Price Index, News and Directory Information for the Marine Fuel Industry



« News Home
:: Monthly Archive

News Topics
:: Air Pollution
:: Agreements & M&A's
:: Alternative Fuels
:: BunkerBlog
:: Cargoes & Storage
:: Company News
:: Efficiency, Costs & Charges
:: Environment
:: Events
:: Financial
:: Fuel Quality & Testing
:: Lubes & Additives
:: Oil Spills
:: People
:: Port News
:: Projects
:: Regulation, Legal
:: Services, Products,Technology
:: Statistics & Research
:: Vessels

Regional Archive
:: Americas
:: Asia/Oceania
:: Europe
:: M.East/Africa


BUNKER INDEX :: Price Index, News and Directory Information for the Marine Fuel Industry
Home » News





Princess Cruise Lines fined $40m for dumping oily waste and cover-up

20 Apr 2017 07:07 GMT

Illegal practices found to have taken place on five Princess ships.



California-based Princess Cruise Lines Ltd (Princess), a cruise brand of Carnival Corporation, has been sentenced to pay a $40 million fine for the illegal dumping overboard of oil contaminated waste and falsification of official logs in order to conceal the discharges.

The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz in Miami.

Judge Seitz also ordered that $1 million be awarded to a British engineer who first reported the illegal discharges to the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), which in turn provided the evidence to the U.S. Coast Guard. The newly hired engineer on the Caribbean Princess reported that a so-called 'magic pipe' had been used on 23rd August 2013, to illegally discharge oily waste off the coast of England without the use of required pollution prevention equipment.

The evidence gathered by the whistleblower, including photographs of the magic pipe, led to an inspection of the cruise ship both in England and then when it reached New York on 14th September 2013. During each of the separate inspections, certain crew members are said to have concealed the illegal activity by lying to the authorities in accordance with orders they had received from Caribbean Princess engineering officers.

The sentence imposed by Judge Seitz also requires that Princess remain on probation for a period of five years, during which time all of the related Carnival cruise ship companies trading in the U.S. will be required to implement an environmental compliance plan that includes independent audits by an outside company and oversight by a court appointed monitor.

As a result of the government's investigation, Princess has already taken various corrective actions, including upgrading the oily water separators and oil content monitors on every ship in its fleet and instituting many new policies.

According to papers filed in court, the Caribbean Princess had been making illegal discharges through bypass equipment since 2005, one year after the ship began operations. The August 2013 discharge approximately 23 miles off the coast of England involved approximately 4,227 gallons within the country's Exclusive Economic Zone. At the same time as the discharge, engineers are said to have ran clean seawater through the ship's monitoring equipment in order to conceal the criminal conduct and create a false digital record for a legitimate discharge.

Illegal practices on five ships

The case against Princess included illegal practices which were found to have taken place on five Princess ships - Caribbean Princess, Star Princess, Grand Princess, Coral Princess and Golden Princess.

One practice was to open a salt water valve when bilge waste was being processed by the oily water separator and oil content monitor. The purpose was to prevent the oil content monitor from going into alarm mode and stopping the overboard discharge. This is said to have been performed routinely on the Caribbean Princess in 2012 and 2013.

The second practice involved discharges of oily bilge water originating from the overflow of graywater tanks into the machinery space bilges. This waste was pumped back into the graywater system rather than being processed as oily bilge waste, and then pumped overboard anytime the ship was more than four nautical miles from land. As a result, discharges within U.S. waters were said to be "likely". None of the discharges were recorded in the oil record books that are required to be maintained on board the ships.

"These violations of law were serious, longstanding and designed to conceal illegal discharges," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Wood. "The sentence in this case should ensure that these crimes do not take place in the future and should also send a strong message to others that illegally polluting U.S. waters will not be tolerated."

"Today's large criminal penalty makes it clear that businesses that operate in our oceans will be held accountable for violating their obligation to safeguard the marine environment," stated Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin Greenberg. "The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida and our maritime partners are committed to ensuring that all vessel operators adhere to recognized standards in order to protect our open seas and coasts. We will continue to use the U.S. courts to pursue those who circumvent the law for their own personal gain."

"Without the courageous act of a junior crewmember to alert authorities to these criminal behaviors of deliberately dumping oil at sea, the global environmental damage caused by the Princess fleet could have been much worse," said Rear Admiral Scott Buschman, Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Seventh District. "The selflessness of this individual exposed five different ships that embraced a culture of shortcuts and I am pleased at this outcome."

Admission of guilt

As set forth in papers filed in court, Princess admitted to the following:

1. After suspecting that the authorities had been informed, senior ship engineers dismantled the bypass pipe and instructed crew members to lie.

2. Following the MCA's inquiry, the chief engineer held a sham meeting in the engine control room to pretend to look into the allegations while holding up a sign stating: "LA is listening". The engineers present understood that anything said might be heard by those at the company's headquarters in Los Angeles, California, because the engine control room contained a recording device intended to monitor conversations in the event of an incident.

3. A perceived motive for the crimes was financial - the chief engineer that ordered the dumping off the coast of England told subordinate engineers that it cost too much to properly offload the waste in port and that the shoreside superintendent who he reported to would not want to pay the expense.

4. Graywater tanks overflowed into the bilges on a routine basis and were pumped back into the graywater system and then improperly discharged overboard when they were required to be treated as oil contaminated bilge waste. The overflows took place when internal floats in the graywater collection tanks got stuck due to large amounts of fat, grease and food particles from the galley that drained into the graywater system. Graywater tanks overflowed at least once a month and, at times, as frequently as once per week. Princess had no written procedures or training for how internal gray water spills were supposed to be cleaned up and the problem remained uncorrected for many years.

Allocation of funds

Ten million of the $40 million criminal penalty imposed by the court is earmarked for community service projects to benefit the maritime environment; $3 million will go to environmental projects in South Florida; $1 million will be allocated to projects to benefit the marine environment in United Kingdom waters. Additionally, $1 million of the criminal penalty is to be deposited in the Abandon Seafarer's Fund - a fund established to provide a mechanism for the U.S. Coast Guard to offer humanitarian relief and support of seafarers who are abandoned in the United States and are witnesses to maritime-related crimes.




Related Links:

D'Amico officers admit oil pollution cover up
Shipping firms fined $1.3m for dumping oily waste and cover-up
Seattle court convicts shipping firms of dumping oily waste
German shipping firms fined for illegally discharging oil into the sea
United Kingdom
United States

Latest News:

Aegean Marine Petroleum launches bunker supply operation in Savannah
Oil slightly up despite more rigs being added in the U.S.
Petrobras to examine possible IPO of fuel distribution unit
Washington ferry conducts earthquake emergency bunker exercise
Naming ceremony held for world's first LNG-powered dredger
Oil and fuel oil hedging market update
Contract signed to build first LNG-fuelled ferry to regularly operate on the Channel
Prima Marine named exclusive bunker operator in Gwadar
Deeper OPEC cuts ahead?
Gasum ups stake in LNG bunker supplier Skangas to 70%
Oil and fuel oil hedging market update
Battery specialist Corvus plans to use $4.9m loan for hybrid ferry projects




Page Links:

Prices
Africa
Asia
Latin America
Middle East
North America
North Europe
South Europe
Index Summary
Price Highlights
Commentaries
Futures
Prices
Antwerp
Busan
Cape Town
Fujairah
Houston
Istanbul
Kaohsiung
Las Palmas
Maracaibo
New Orleans
Piraeus
Rio
Rotterdam
Santos
Singapore
Directory
Africa
Asia
Central America
Middle East
North America
North Europe
Oceania
South America
South Europe
Directory
Germany
Gibraltar
Greece
Hong Kong
Italy
Japan
Netherlands
Panama
Russia
Singapore
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Turkey
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
News
Latest News
Blogs
Archive
Americas
Asia
Europe
Middle East
News
Air Pollution
Agreements & M&A's
Alternative Fuels
Cargoes & Storage
Efficiency, Costs & Charges
Environment
Events
Financial
Fuel Quality
Lubes & Additives
Oil Spills
People
Port News
Projects
Regulation/Legal
Services, Products, Technology
Statistics & Research
Vessels
Events
Upcoming Events