The victims, all members of the newly formed International Cruise Victims Association, submitted a list of 10 suggestions, including mandatory rape kits and thorough employee background checks, to members of Congress. Shays said the information will be useful in deciding whether further laws are needed to govern the cruise line industry. Can the cruise industry be trusted to give trughtful answers and honest responses to the questions and demands made by the families of cruise victims?
It is very doubtful since the cruise companies are convicted felons because they lied and falsified records related to numerous counts of illegal dumping:To keep waters pristine, punish the polluters
By ROBERT TRIGAUX, Times Business Columnist © St. Petersburg Times published May 19, 2002
In the late 1990s, Miami's Royal Caribbean Cruises paid $27-million in fines and penalties to settle ocean-dumping complaints in Florida, California, Alaska, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Now comes Miami's Carnival Corp., the world's biggest cruise company with 43 pleasure vessels, which last month pleaded guilty to six felony counts and agreed to pay $18-million in fines and restitution. The charge? Carnival lied by filing false statements with the Coast Guard on oily discharges from a half-dozen Carnival cruise ships, including the Paradise, Tropicale and (sailing from the Port of Tampa) Sensation. Aboard Carnival ships, on-board engineers went so far as to illegally override sensors meant to prevent dumping of oily wastewater.
In a typical one-week voyage, the average-size cruise ship produces 8 tons of trash; 210,000 gallons of sewage; 25,000 gallons of oil-contaminated water; and a million gallons of "gray water" from sinks, showers, galleys and laundry facilities.
Cruise ships must pay big bucks in ports, or at sea with expensive pollution filters, to get rid of all this waste legitimately. And cruise ship captains often are awarded incentives to find ways to lower operating expenses. That's one reason why it's been a favorite shortcut for cruise ships to dump their gray water and even sewage far from land at night when the chances of detection from the occasional Coast Guard boat or plane are minimal.
Cruise ship owners can be influenced in the same way. Fining them serious sums of money is a start. The bad news is that Carnival did not seem to learn any lessons from the industry's past mistakes. The company's guilty plea in April is for illegal actions that seem remarkably similar to those that got Royal Caribbean in deep trouble several years earlier.
Let's compare the two:
CARNIVAL: Not charged with illegal dumping, but for lying about it.
ROYAL: Not charged with illegal dumping
, but for lying about it
CARNIVAL: Pleaded guilty that six Florida-based cruise ships repeatedly dumped waste into the sea between July 1998 and January 2001.
ROYAL: Pleaded guilty to fleetwide conspiracy and obstruction of justice that its ships saved millions of dollars by dumping oily waste into the ocean in the mid-1990s.
CARNIVAL: Ships' staffs would "fool" an on-board alarm, called the oil content meter, that warns when water containing too much oil enters the discharge system. By flushing clean water past the sensor, a "low" reading allowed ship to discharge oily water undetected.
ROYAL: Ships rigged pipes to bypass antipollution equipment. On Royal's Sovereign of the Seas, engineers on a voyage from San Juan to Miami were ordered to cut up pipes connected to an antipollution device and drop them in a dumpster. Similar steps occurred on other Royal Caribbean ships.
CARNIVAL: Ships have to keep "oil record books" of oily waste disposal and allow inspections. When engineers fooled ship sensors to discharge oily bilge waste, they falsified records.
ROYAL: Ship engineers admitted that oil record books were falsified so routinely that they were known as eventyrbok, which means "fairy tale book" in Norwegian.
In March 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency cited six cruise companies, including three based in Florida, for fouling the Alaskan air in Juneau, Seward and Glacier Bay National Park. The EPA recently proposed the first federal limits on air pollution from large ocean-going ships.
Shortly after Carnival pleaded guilty in April, the cruise giant, Royal Caribbean and other ship operators were sued by environmental groups that claim the companies improperly dump water along California's coast.
The groups allege that cruise ships in foreign ports take on ballast water, which is pumped into the bottom of a ship to keep it balanced at sea, then jettison it elsewhere. That water can contain exotic organisms that pose a threat to native flora and fauna.
Carnival's $18-million penalty last month isn't chicken feed, but it won't slow down a corporation with nearly $1-billion in quarterly sales and a market value topping $19-billion. To cruise operators of that size, environmental fines often are viewed as little more than a "cost of doing business." Instead, fines need to become serious bottom-line reminders to operate with more respect for the water they sail upon.
Otherwise, all of this becomes just another eventyrbok.internationalcruisevictims.org
Originally Posted USA TODAYNov. 7, 2002 — Since 1993, the Justice Department has handed out over $48.5 million in fines to 10 cruise lines for illegal dumping.
April 1993. Princess Cruises, $500,000 criminal fine for dumping garbage off the Florida Keys.
April 1994. Palm Beach Cruises, $500,000 criminal fine for discharging waste oil from bilges, causing 2 1/2-mile oil slick off the coast of Florida.
Sept. 1994. American Global Lines, based in Hawaii, $100,000 criminal fine for dumping of demolition materials.
March 1995. Regency Cruises, $250,000 criminal fine for discharging plastics from two ships during cruises.
November 1997. Ulysses Cruises of Miami and Seaway Maritime of Greece, each fined $75,000 for dumping oil in the Atlantic. Ulysses also fined $75,000 for dumping plastic bags full of garbage.
June 1998. Holland America, $1 million criminal fine for discharging oily bilge waste in waters off Alaska.
1998 and 1999. Royal Caribbean Cruises pleaded guilty to 30 charges and was fined $27 million for a fleetwide conspiracy to dump oily bilge wastewater into U.S. waters.
April 2002. Carnival Corp. fined $18 million for falsifying ship records to cover up dumping of oily bilge wastewater from six ships.
July 2002. Norwegian Cruise Line fined $1 million for falsifying ship records to cover up dumping of oily bilge wastewater by one ship.
Source: Department of Justice.