Carnival Corp. to Pay $20 Million in Environmental Case Settlement

by Daniel McCarthy
Carnival Corp. to Pay $20 Million in Environmental Case Settlement

Carnival will have to improve its waste management system and restructure its compliance programs with additional audits to check for environmental violations.Photo: Stories In Light /

Carnival Corp. will pay a $20 million penalty as part of a deal with federal prosecutors that will allow the cruise company to continue operating, despite alleged probation violations.

According to the AP, Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald appeared in court on Monday, along with other Carnival executives including Chairman Micky Arison, to accept responsibility for the violations. Judge Patricia A Seintz, the same judge who had threatened to temporarily block Carnival Corp. ships from docking at U.S. ports in April, presided over the hearing in Miami.

“Today, the Court approved our agreement with the Department of Justice — setting forth new initiatives, improved procedures, additional training and significant investments to ensure we have the strongest and most sustainable environmental compliance program possible,” a Carnival Corp. spokesperson told Travel Market Report.

Aside from the $20 million penalty, Carnival will also have to improve its waste management system and restructure its compliance programs with additional audits to check for environmental violations. Those improvements have to be made by Sept. 13 and Oct 9. Seitz set a $1 million per day penalty, which could potentially go up to $10 million, if the deadlines are not met.

Talking to Travel Market Report, Carnival highlighted other actions it plans to take to meet its goals, including appointing a chief compliance officer who will oversee the company’s compliance efforts; creating an Executive Compliance Committee; and engaging with an outside consultant to “advise us on the best options to improve our corporate compliance program.” 

Carnival also plans to reduce the purchase and consumption of single-use plastic items in its fleet by 50% and reduce the total weight of food waste by 10%, both by the end of 2021.

“Carnival Corporation remains committed to environmental excellence and protecting the environment in which we live, work, and travel. Our aspiration is to leave the places we touch even better than when we first arrived,” the spokesperson added.

Carnival Corp. was on probation for two years after Princess Cruise Lines in 2016 pled guilty to seven charges of pollution of the seas. As part of that settlement, Carnival Corp. paid $40 million and agreed to operate under a court-supervised Environmental Compliance Program (ECP) for five years. In April, the court alleged that the practice continued with some ships from several of the company’s brands, releasing grey water into Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park, along with other violations, including dumping plastics, illegally preparing ships for audit, and falsifying records, all of which were acknowledged in court filings.

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