Carnival fined $20m over pollution offences

US District Judge Patricia Seitz in Miami, Florida, has fined cruise liner company Carnival Corp $20m for pollution offences as part of a negotiated agreement.

Carnival must also allow more stringent oversight by the court-appointed monitors during its third, fourth and fifth years on probation.

The ruling also requires Carnival Corp to develop an action plan for compliance and to create a position of Chief Compliance Officer. The company must increase budgetary resources for the Corporate Compliance Manager. If the company misses certain deadlines, it will be fined up to $1m per day, and up to $10m per day if it misses the deadlines by 10 days.

The world’s largest cruise operator was found to have violated the terms of its probation, imposed in 2016. Carnival Corp pleaded guilty to six charges of violating probation running for five years from April 2017.

The violations cited on Monday June 3rd were for falsifying training records, communicating with the US Coast Guard through a back channel, failing to give enough authority to the company’s environmental compliance officer, rushing to clean up ships ahead of visits by a court-appointed monitor, continuing to clean up ships ahead of auditor visits after the court ordered a stop to the practice, and dumping food waste mixed with plastic into Bahamian waters.

Environmentalists and an Alaskan fisherman had requested to be considered victims of Carnival Corp’s actions. Prosecutors argued that they did not qualify as victims under the Crime Victims Rights Act. Judge Seitz agreed, but offered their attorney, Knoll Lowney, the opportunity to speak.

The judge ordered top company executives — including Chairman Micky Arison and CEO Arnold Donald — to appear in court. Four additional corporate board members and 16 leaders from all nine Carnival Corp brands were also in the courtroom for the three-and-a-half hour hearing.

Donald, speaking on behalf of Carnival Corp, said that “I sincerely regret this case. In my role as CEO I do take responsibility for the problems we have. I am extremely disappointed that we’ve had them. I know you have reservations about our commitment and who we are. I want you to know we are fully committed.” Donald was the only Carnival Corp executive to speak at the hearing.