We're all aware, even if it's in a vague sense, that a lot of human waste is ocean-bound when we dispose of it. And, of course, there's that annoying human tendency to litter profusely during beach days. The end result? A lot of trash filling up our oceans, to the point that it's become a serious problem.
So that's why this Carnival cruise scandal is a big deal. Because a Carnival subsidiary just admitted to improperly dumping its waste into the ocean - and now they've gotta pay up. As if our oceans weren't already dirty enough.
Here's the full story on Carnival's run-in with the law. You won't believe just how big this breach in garbage disposal actually was!
Carnival Corp is on the hook for a lot of dough.And it's not even just for mass-littering into the ocean. It's for doing it after a previous settlement was already made...
It all started back in 2016.
via: GettyThat year, Carnival Corp, which owns several cruise lines including Princess Cruises, pleaded guilty to seven felony charges.
The company was guilty of a "conspiracy".For eight years, five of Carnival's Princess Cruise Line ships had been illegally dumping oil into the ocean and covering it up.
You know how oil spills are always highly reported as being huge disasters?
via: GettyThese cruises had just been dumping it all in the ocean... So that's not great!
Needless to say, there were consequences.
via: GettyAt the end of the settlement, Carnival Corp agreed to pay a $20 million fine - that's the largest-ever criminal penalty involving intentional pollution by vessels.
And there was a probation.
via: GettyWhich is still ongoing right now. Originally, Carnival was on probation for five years.
So they were also assigned a court-appointed monitor.Because corporations need probation officers, too. So Steven Solow, a partner at a Washington D.C. law firm, was assigned to be Carnival's monitor.
And over the next year, Solow monitored the activity of the cruise lines.
via: GettyFrom April 2017 through April 2018, Solow's reports uncovered some less-than-savory practices that Carnival just couldn't seem to give up. And, yeah, those are just the events leading up to April last year, so...buckle up.
Guess how many violations were reported?Just in that first year, Carnival's inspector found over 800 violations of the probation agreement, although the violations were apparently accidental and were reported by Carnival.
Carnival owned up to it.
via: GettyNobody ever said that the path to being environmentally conscious was a smooth one. "These issues were unacceptable failures in our processes that were not in accordance with our policies and procedures, and do not reflect the culture we have built at Carnival Corporation and across our nine cruise line brands," a Carnival representative said while speaking to Business Insider.
Improvement takes time.
via: Getty"We have been taking steps to address the improvement areas mentioned in the report, and to build on the positive progress noted by the court-appointed monitor to make sure we are in full compliance moving forward," the representative added.
Here's a look at all of the violations:According to Carnival's year in review, here are some of those 800 violations listed: Company ships discharged over 500,000 gallons of treated sewage, nearly all of which went into Bahamian waters, plus, twelve gallons of oil (mostly lifeboat fuel) was thrown in there.
They dumped into the wrong waters.
via: GettyThere are both international and domestic laws which prohibit dumping into ports and into waters close to land.
Weirdly enough, Carnival's illegal dumping was relatively light compared to what it could have been.
via: GettyThat's because the average cruise ship makes about 21,000 gallons of sewage in one day. Carnival owns 105 ships around the world...which adds up to over 2 million gallons of sewage produced in one day!
So, 500,000 gallons isn't actually that much.I mean, it's definitely still fine-worthy and it's horrible for the planet, but, comparatively, it could've been much worse. Altogether, the illegally-dumped sewage represents less than 1% of Carnival's annual output.
There was also food waste tossed into the ocean.
via: GettyAround 11,000 gallons of food waste was released too close to shore, thereby violating a number of international laws.
Brace yourselves, this one's really bad.
via: GettyOn nineteen occasions, unfiltered heavy fuel oil was burned in protected areas for a total of forty-four hours.
Also, passengers got a little rowdy.See, other violations included throwing physical objects overboard. I'm not really sure why, on a big luxurious boat, someone's idea of a good time would be tossing out the furniture... but, hey, everyone has their own definition of "fun".
Wanna know the grand total?
via: GettyPeople aboard the ships (most of them, passengers) threw five chairs, forty-one pillows, and ten tables into the water. Sounds like a rager!
And that's very illegal.Sewage and food waste can be dumped in the ocean; it's just that there are specifications as to where - anywhere near land is generally off limits. But plain ol' physical garbage is just illegal, no matter where you are.
So watch where you toss!The ocean isn't the same as a landfill, so throwing out old lawn furniture in there!
Then there's the little matter of Carnival's records.Because the company's monitor also found four instances of falsified records related to training and maintenance. More on that later.
There's a pretty lengthy history of these problems within the company.Before 2016, another of Carnival's subsidiaries ran afoul of the law while illegally dumping oil.
That time, it was the Holland America Line.
via: GettyThis was back in 1998; the company then paid a $2 million fine and underwent a five-year probation period.
And it happened again in 2002.Carnival Corp pleaded guilty to falsifying records regarding illegally discharged oily waste on six different ships. That fine totalled $18 million--and another 5-year probation.
That's why courts upped the ante this time.
via: Getty“We call you high-risk defendants when you have this number of repeat offenses," Judge Seitz told Carnival Corp's lawyers during the hearing process. “The defendant is a criminal. It is a recidivist criminal."
Not that Carnival is alone.
via: GettyRoyal Caribbean Cruises paid $9 million in 1999 when it pleaded guilty to covering up dumps of toxic waste-water and rigging its ships to bypass pollution control equipment.
Norwegian Cruise Line did something similar in 2002.
via: GettyThat cruise line company paid a $1 million fine for falsifying records to cover up the oil-dumps.
So there have been many infractions over time.But Carnival is easily the biggest repeat offender, so it makes sense that they're being slapped with the heaviest fine in cruise ship history!
Basically, cruise lines have been told to clean up their acts.
via: Getty"Carnival Corporation remains committed to environmental excellence and protecting the environment in which we live, work, and travel," a Carnival representative said after this latest settlement. "Our aspiration is to leave the places we touch even better than when we first arrived." Let's hope that proves true in the future. Share this story to keep your environment-aware friends in the loop!