Caribbean Princess. Photo: Pete
Princess Cruises has plead guilty to seven felony charges of polluting the oceans and an attempted cover-up and will be forced to pay a $40 million fine.
The charges, levied against Carnival Corp., stem back to illegal discharges made by Caribbean Princess since 2005. The ship was reportedly making illegal discharges through a waste pipe that went around pollution-prevention equipment that each cruise ship must have onboard.
After an engineer warned U.S. investigators about the dumping in 2013, a full inquiry took place. Investigators found that Caribbean Princess illegally dumped waste in nine U.S. states and two other territories--Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Investigators also found that Princess engineers ordered a cover-up of the incidents, calling on subordinates to remove the pipe used for the dumping.
Princess released a statement saying that the company believes the “actions were taken to save time and that those involved thought they were saving the company money,” but because the actions were illegal, they were not “incentivized, directed nor approved.”
The $40 million fine is the largest ever accessed to a cruise company for pollution.