A US Federal judge threatened that she might block Carnival Corporation from docking cruise ships at ports in the US as punishment for a possible probation violation. The cruise company has been on five years probation, from April 2017, as part of a $40m settlement for dumping oil into the ocean illegally from its Princess Cruises ships and subsequently lying about the scheme, according to court filings.
Specifically, according to the Miami Herald, Judge Patricia Seitz announced that she is to make a preliminary status conference that she would make a ruling in June, adding that she wanted company Chairman Micky Arison and President Donald Arnold to attend that hearing.
Judge Seitz noted
The people at the top are treating this as a gnat. If I could, I would give all the members of the executive committee a visit to the detention centre for a couple of days. It’s amazing how that helps people come to focus on reality.
Concerning the five year probation, the company was accused of dumping grey water into Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park, prepared ships in advance of court-ordered audits to avoid unfavourable findings, falsified records and dumped plastic garbage into the ocean.
In light of the judge’s decision, Carnival Chief Communications Officer Roger Frizzell stated
We heard the concerns expressed by Judge Seitz, and will do our utmost to ensure we meet all expectations under the environmental compliance plan and continue to strive to be best in class on environmental compliance.
Moreover, the probation demands a third-party inspection towards vessels that belong to Carnival Corporations and subsidiaries. Overall, the company owns nine cruise brands ans 102 ships.
In the court it was revealed that during 2017 Carnival had a programme in place to prepare ships in advance of the audits to avoid negative findings. Seitz ordered the company to stop in December 2017, but federal prosecutors said the practice recommenced in 2018.
Also, prosecutors highlighted that internal emails shared among Carnival’s subsidiaries discussed the practice.
Specifically, an email from Carnival’s German-based cruise line AIDA Cruises said
It would be really important to go onboard on August 12th for one week in order to have time to manage issues before the audits and avoid findings.
Prosecutors unanimously noted that there have been additional emails from Carnival’s Seattle-based Holland America Line mentioned ‘prevent audit findings’ as a goal in early 2018.
Holland America’s Westerdam was alleged to have dumped 26,000 gallons of grey water into Glacier Bay National Park in September 2018. Monitors also found that the Carnival Elation ship dumped plastic garbage overboard during an audit in December.
Concluding, no actions and decisions were made, as this was a preliminary status and not a hearing.