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Princess Cruises to pay record-breaking criminal fine for ocean pollution
Princess Cruise Lines has agreed to plead guilty to seven felony charges and pay a $40 million penalty for polluting the ocean with waste and then trying to cover it up. Federal prosecutors said the payment represents the largest-ever criminal penalty involving deliberate pollution by a ship at sea.
At the heart of the criminal case lies one ship in particular, the 3,192-passenger Caribbean Princess, which prosecutors said used a “magic pipe” to bypass the ship’s usual equipment and illegally discharge thousands of gallons of oily waste into the ocean. The practice came to the attention of authorities after an engineer on the ship reported the problem to British investigators in summer 2013. The ship was sailing off the coast of England at the time, and the whistleblowing engineer quit his job when the vessel reached Southampton, England.
Officials from the Justice Department said the ship’s chief engineer and senior first engineer tried to cover up the practice, removing the magic pipe and ordering subordinates to lie to authorities. Upon the ship’s arrival in New York the following month, U.S. Coast Guard investigators conducted an examination of the Caribbean Princess, during which some crew members continued to mislead them about the illegal dumping practice.
Investigators eventually determined that the ship had been making illegal discharges since 2005, the year after the ship was put into service. They also discovered a handful of other illegal practices taking place on the Caribbean Princess and four other ships — the Star Princess, Grand Princess, Coral Princess and Golden Princess. The practices included allowing salt water in to prevent alarms from sounding when too much oil was being discharged, and discharging oily bilge water when storage tanks overflowed in the engine room, according to the Justice Department.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Carnival and several other cruise lines came under fire for a slew of environmental violation cases. In all, Carnival Corp. lines Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line were fined a combined $20 million, Royal Caribbean International was fined $27 million, and Norwegian Cruise Line another $1.5 million across multiple, similar lawsuits involving illegal oil dumping during that time period.
“I see this as a continuation of the same practices that have happened in the past,” said Miami-based maritime lawyer Jim Walker. “Princess just continued doing it from that time period until 2013, when this engineer blew the whistle on them.”
Read more here: www.miamiherald.com...=cpy
Daniel Rieger, a transport officer at German environment group Nabu, said: “Cruise companies create a picture of being a bright, clean and environmentally friendly tourism sector. But the opposite is true. One cruise ship emits as many air pollutants as five million cars going the same distance because these ships use heavy fuel that on land would have to be disposed of as hazardous waste.”
When something bad happens, we want to find out who’s responsible, and we want them to be punished. Only when guilt has been assigned and punishment extracted can we feel that justice has been done, and the case closed. Evolution has provided us with powerful, automatic brain circuitry for this purpose. When we see someone do wrong, we feel anger and outrage. This prompts us to extract punishment, which hopefully will prevent the evildoer from repeating his or her mistake in the future. The end result is that the social order is maintained.
originally posted by: SlapMonkey
Call me nuts--I'm just going to throw this out there, though:
In a vast ocean, what is THAT going to cause?
I'm not advocating the practice, so don't start with the hyperbole and angry accusations, I'm just asking a logical question--what lasting harm will that cause to the ocean? Are there chemicals in the treatment that is being released that is known to cause widespread or even localized death that affects things overall in that part of the ocean?
I'll be going on a cruise next summer--now I'll be keeping an eye on this stuff with camera ready, just in case I need to catch them in the same act.
You'd think that they'd be smart enough to only do it at night...
originally posted by: eXia7
Just because the ocean is vast doesn't mean people should pollute it and say "well its so big, what does it matter"