Carnival Corporation Agrees $20 Million Probation Deal

Caribbean Princess
Caribbean Princess

Published Jun 3, 2019 8:04 PM by The Maritime Executive

Carnival Corporation has made a $20 million deal with federal prosecutors as settlement for charges that it violated its probation. 

United States District Court Judge Patricia Seitz ordered top Carnival Corporation executives, including board chairman Micky Arison and CEO Arnold Donald, to appear in court on Monday, June 3 for a probation revocation hearing. The U.S. Office of Probation filed a motion for probation violations after the Court Appointed Monitor found cases of Carnival ships continuing to violate environmental laws. 

As part of the plan announced on Monday, Carnival will allow more stringent oversight by the Court Appointed Monitor, create an action plan for compliance and create a Chief Compliance Officer position. If the company misses agreed deadlines, it will be fined up to $1 million a day and up to $10 million a day if it misses deadlines by 10 days. 

Carnival has also agreed to reduce its use of single-use plastics by 50 percent by 2020 and has committed $20 million to improve its food waste management.

Carnival is on probation as a result of Princess Cruise Lines pleading guilty in 2017 to seven felony counts arising out of vessel pollution from Caribbean Princess and efforts to conceal that pollution, one count of conspiracy, four counts of failure to maintain accurate records and two counts of obstruction of justice.
Seitz published the previously confidential monitor's report in April. In the 205-page report, the monitor records hundreds of incidents from April 2017 to April 2018. The Miami Herald reviewed each incident and found that 24 were for illegally dumping sewage, food waste or oil; 19 were for illegally burning heavy fuel oil in protected areas; and more than 150 were the result of items like furniture accidentally going overboard. Carnival reported the violations to authorities directly or noted them in its internal records. 

Stand.earth called the ruling a backroom deal with little regard for the communities and individuals who are impacted by cruise ship pollution. Ahead of the hearing, the organization had supported the filing of an emergency motion on behalf of alleged victims to intervene in the proceeding. The judge presiding over the case allowed the victims’ legal counsel to speak at the hearing but ultimately decided the victims did not have standing under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act. 

“Today’s ruling was a betrayal of the public trust and a continuation of the weak enforcement that has allowed Carnival Corporation to continue to profit by selling the environment to its passengers while its cruise ships contribute to the destruction of the fragile ecosystems they visit,” said Kendra Ulrich, Senior Shipping Campaigner at Stand.earth.