Carnival Corporation agrees to pay $20 million Probation settlement over Princess Cruises pollution violations

With world wide emphasis on the protection of the oceans and the cruise industries continued efforts on protecting the environment it is a real shame to report on the recent development involving Carnival Corp and Princess Cruises in the USA.

Earlier this week it was announced that Carnival Corp. will pay $20 million after its subsidiary, Princess Cruises, admitted to violating the terms of its probation from a 2017 conviction for improper waste disposal. This additional fine follows the original  $40 million penalty which was the largest ever for deliberate vessel pollution.

 

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A secret pipe on the Caribbean Princess cruise ship was used to discharge waste into British waters Image: Princess Cruises

A court filing submitted on Monday said Carnival released food waste and plastic into the ocean, failed to accurately record waste disposals, created false training records, and secretly examined ships to fix environmental-compliance issues before third-party inspections without reporting its findings to the inspectors.

Monday’s settlement requires Carnival to pay $20 million within seven days, receive additional ship inspections, devote more resources to ensure compliance with its probation, reduce the number of single-use plastic items on its ships, and establish teams to improve waste management. If Carnival does not meet deadlines to revamp its compliance process, it will have to pay additional penalties of $1 million to $10 million a day.

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

In 2017, Princess Cruises pleaded guilty to illegally releasing oil into the ocean and deliberately hiding the practice, and it was ordered to pay $40 million. Carnival has since been on a five-year probation, during which it must allow a third-party inspector to examine its ships.

According to a report from an environmental-compliance inspector, Carnival violated environmental laws in the first year of the probation. The inspector found over 800 violations of its probation between April 2017 and April 2018, though they were accidental and disclosed by Carnival, the Miami Herald reported.

According to papers filed in court during the 2017 case, the Caribbean Princess had been making illegal discharges through bypass equipment since 2005, one year after the ship began operations.  The discharge on Aug. 26, 2013, involved approximately 4,227 gallons, 23 miles off the coast of England within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.  At the same time as the discharge, engineers simultaneously ran clean seawater through the ship’s overboard equipment in order to create a false digital record for a legitimate discharge.

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US Government diagram of the standing pipe method of bypassing used in 2013

Caribbean Princess used multiple methods over the course of time to pollute the seas.  Prior to the installation of the bypass pipe used to make the discharge off the coast of England, a different unauthorized valve was used.  When the Department of Justice investigative team conducted a consensual boarding of the ship in Houston, Texas, on March 8, 2014, they found the valve that crew members had described.  When it was removed by Princess at the department’s request, it was found to contain black oil.

In addition to the use of a magic pipe to circumvent the oily water separator and oil content monitor required pollution prevention equipment, the U.S. investigation uncovered two other illegal practices which were found to have taken place on the Caribbean Princess as well as four other Princess ships – Star PrincessGrand PrincessCoral Princess and Golden Princess.  One practice was to open a salt water valve when bilge waste was being processed by the oily water separator and oil content monitor.  The purpose was to prevent the oil content monitor from otherwise alarming and stopping the overboard discharge.  This was done routinely on the Caribbean Princess in 2012 and 2013.  The second practice involved discharges of oily bilge water originating from the overflow of graywater tanks into the machinery space bilges.  This waste was pumped back into the graywater system rather than being processed as oily bilge waste.  Neither of these practices were truthfully recorded in the oil record book as required.  All of the bypassing took place through the graywater system which was discharged when the ship was more than four nautical miles from land.  As a result, discharges within U.S. waters were likely.

Additional: Announcement from the US Department of Justice: (June 2019)

Princess Cruise Lines and its Parent Company Plead Guilty to Environmental Probation Violations, Ordered to Pay $20 Million Criminal Penalty

Today, Princess Cruise Lines Ltd. (Princess) and its parent, Carnival Cruise Lines & plc (together “Carnival”) were ordered to pay a $20 million criminal penalty and will be subject to enhanced supervision after admitting to violations of probation attributable to senior Carnival management in a case in which Princess had already paid $40 million.

Princess was convicted and sentenced in April 2017, after pleading guilty to felony charges stemming from its deliberate dumping of oil-contaminated waste from one of its vessels and intentional acts to cover it up. While serving 5 years of probation, all Carnival related cruise lines vessels eligible to trade in U.S. ports were required to comply with a court approved and supervised environmental compliance plan (ECP), including audits by an independent company and oversight by a Court Appointed Monitor. Numerous violations have been identified by the company, the outside auditor, and the court’s monitor during the first two years of probation, including “major non-conformities” as defined by the ECP.

Carnival admitted it was guilty of committing six violations of probation. Two of the violations involved interfering with the court’s supervision of probation by sending undisclosed teams to ships to prepare them for the independent inspections required during probation. When this was first discovered in December 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Patricia Seitz directed that the practice cease and ordered additional inspections as a consequence. However, without seeking court approval, a second undisclosed program was started shortly thereafter. Documents filed in court showed that a purpose of the vessel visit programs was to avoid adverse findings during the inspections.

“This case demonstrates the importance of identifying and correcting compliance problems at their source. Carnival sought to avoid the discovery of problems during the audits rather than learn from them. Carnival’s deliberate deception undermined the court’s supervision of probation,” said Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “I want to take this opportunity to thank and commend the Office of Probation and the Court Appointed Monitor for the close attention that they have devoted to this important matter post-conviction.”

Carnival’s Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer attended the hearing pursuant to court’s order and were asked to personally pledge their commitment to correcting the company’s compliance issues and corporate culture. In addition, senior management of each operating cruise line of Carnival Corporation & plc were present for the court proceedings.

The company admitted to other violations of probation today including:

  • Failing to establish a senior corporate officer as a corporate compliance manager with responsibility and sufficient authority for implementing new environmental measures required during probation;
  • Contacting the Coast Guard seeking to re-define the definition of what constitutes a major non-conformity under the ECP without going through the required process and after the government had rejected the proposal and told the company to file a motion with the court if it wanted to pursue the issue;
  • Deliberately falsifying environmental training records aboard two cruise ships; and
  • Deliberately discharging plastic in Bahamian waters from the Carnival Elation and failing to accurately record the illegal discharges. Prosecutors advised the Court that this particular instance was an example of a more widespread problem, identified by the external audits, in failing to segregate plastic and non-food garbage from waste thrown overboard from numerous cruise ships.

Under the terms of the settlement, Carnival will do the following:

  • Pay a $20 million criminal penalty;
  • Issue a statement to all employees in which Carnival’s CEO accepts management’s responsibility for the probation violations;
  • Restructure the company’s corporate compliance efforts, including appointing a new chief Corporate Compliance Officer, creating an Executive Compliance Committee across all cruise lines, adding a new member to the Board of Directors with corporate compliance expertise, and train its Board of Directors;
  • Pay up to $10 million per day if it does not meet deadlines for submitting and implementing needed changes to its corporate structure;
  • Pay for 15 additional independent audits per year conducted by the third-party auditor and Court Appointed Monitor (on top of approximately 31 ship audits and 6 shore-side audits currently performed annually);
  • Comply with new reporting requirements, including notifying the government and court of all future violations, and specifically identifying foreign violations and the country impacted; and
  • Make major changes in how the company uses and disposes of plastic and other non-food waste to urgently address a problem on multiple vessels concerning illegal discharges of plastic mixed with other garbage.

The revised sentence imposed by Judge Seitz also requires that Princess remain on probation for a period of three years.

Source: US Department of Justice (DOJ)

US Department of Justice (DOJ) announcement relating to the original case can be viewed here:

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl/pr/princess-cruise-lines-pay-largest-ever-criminal-penalty-deliberate-vessel-pollution

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Carnival Corp is comprises of ten brands

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog

 

Princess Cruises begins 50th Alaska Season

Princess Cruises’ 50th year sailing in Alaska is now under way following the arrival of the 3,080-guest Ruby Princess in America’s northernmost state. A further six ships will head to Alaska, including the 3,560-guest Royal Princess on May 11, marking the cruise line’s largest ever deployment to the region.
 
Princess is offering a variety of cruise and cruise tour options up to September, which will encompass the state’s must-see attractions including Glacier Bay National Park and Denali National Park. Alaska cruises range in length from seven to 12 days and depart from Vancouver, Anchorage (Whittier), Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. 

Princess also owns and operates five wilderness lodges in riverside locations near national parks, offering more than 20 cruisetour options for guests. Princess cruisetours combine a seven-day cruise with a multi-night land tour and exclusive ‘direct to the wilderness’ rail service.

Several new initiatives have been introduced to mark the 50th anniversary. They will be offered alongside Princess Cruises’ ‘North to Alaska’ onboard programme, which includes ‘puppies in the piazza’ – when some of Alaska’s newest sled dogs and their handlers come aboard – and the ‘cook my catch’ fishing shore excursion.

The initiatives include:

·         A number of new shore excursions in Juneau, Ketchikan and Icy Strait Point such as:

– A luxury whale watch by yacht in Juneau 
– An interactive self-guided jeep adventure in Juneau
– The Ketchikan pub walk 
– A rainforest trail bike and hike adventure in Ketchikan  
– A seafood feast and tribal dance show in Icy Strait Point
– A wilderness hike and kayak adventure in Icy Strait Point

·         The introduction of the ‘Glacier Tea’ cocktail, a take on the Long Island Ice Tea that is topped off with Blue Curacao, which is similar to the brilliant glacier blue colour found in Alaska

·         A special Alaska beer tasting flight, featuring blends from the Juneau-based Alaskan Brewing Company

·         An onboard Northern Lights planetarium in the theatre of every Alaska ship

·         A mini museum exhibit featuring notable images from the 50 years Princess Cruises has sailed to Alaska
  
Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises’ vice president UK and Europe, said: “We take more people than any other cruise line to Alaska and have hosted over 5 million guests during the last 50 years.

“Alaska is a truly stunning destination and there’s no better way to explore it than via a cruise. A wealth of itinerary options are on offer for anyone looking to book a bucket list sailing to the region this year. The Great Land’s glaciers, wildlife, national parks and beautiful port cities are simply not to be missed.”

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Star Princess in Alaska © Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises is offering a 7-night Inside Passage cruise on Star Princess departing September 15, 2019. Sailing roundtrip from Seattle, ports of call include Ketchikan, Tracy Arm Fjord (scenic cruising), Juneau, Skagway and Victoria (British Columbia). Prices from £699 per person.

For more information or to book visit www.princess.com , call 0344 338 8663 or contact your local travel agent.

Thank you for taking the time to ready my blog… be sure to read my next post on why I want to visit Alaska

Princess Cruises announces the arrival of UK-based ship

Crown Princess at Sea

Crown Princess has arrived in Southampton to begin its spring and summer season in the UK and will be sailing around the British Isles on a series of 12-night voyages.

The 3,080-guest vessel has over 1,500 cabins, including nearly 900 balconies, and four swimming pools. It has 19 decks; 18 restaurants, cafes and bars; and at a length of over 950 feet is around the size of three football pitches.

Crown Princess will feature the multi award-winning Ocean Medallion technology from July 24, the first UK-based ship to do so.

The Medallion is intended to make every guest feel like a VIP and helps them relax and enjoy their cruise from the moment they are ready to step onboard. The device is the same size as a 10p piece and replaces more traditional cruise cards.

The Medallion’s instant technology makes it quicker and easier to get on and off the ship. Once onboard it opens guests’ doors when they approach, which is ideal for anyone who already has their hands full or is with small children.

The Medallion’s ‘compass’ feature means guests can find and stay connected with friends and family onboard, as well as navigate their way around the ship. It also allows guests to order drinks and snacks, plus holiday essentials such as suntan lotion and swimming goggles, to most parts of the ship.

Three ships to date have been Medallion-activated: Caribbean Princess, Regal Princess and Royal Princess.

In September, Crown Princess will make her way to Fort Lauderdale for roundtrip Caribbean sailings. The ship will return to the UK from May-November 2020, where she will sail from Southampton on a series of voyages to the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and northern Europe.

Princess Cruises is offering a 12-night British Isles cruise, departing August 17, 2019 on Crown Princess. Sailing roundtrip from Southampton, ports of call include Guernsey (St. Peter Port), Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, Invergordon, Edinburgh (South Queensferry) and Paris/Normandy (Le Havre). Prices from £1,099 per person.

Princess Cruises is offering a 17-night Mediterranean and Greek Isles Cruise, departing November 6, 2020 on Crown Princess. Sailing roundtrip from Southampton, ports of call include Seville (Cadiz), Valletta, Mykonos, Kusadasi (for Ephesus), Santorini and Cartagena. Prices from £1,799 per person.

Princess Cruises launches new ‘Sapphire Princess’ cocktail

Princess Cruises has announced that its new gin-based ‘Sapphire Princess’ cocktail is now being served on its main UK ship.

 

Created in partnership with the Bombay Sapphire Distillery, the bespoke cocktail is named after the returning Sapphire Princess cruise ship. The drink will be served exclusively on the vessel, which will spend April – October 2019 sailing to a variety of destinations from Southampton including the Mediterranean, Norwegian Fjords and Canada & New England.

Inspired by the 2,670-guest ship and its Mediterranean ports of call, the bright blue-hued drink is the newest addition to the ship’s cocktail menu and will complement the wide range of beverage options already available onboard.

The drink includes a generous measure of Bombay Sapphire gin, which is itself made with botanical ingredients sourced from several of the countries and destinations Sapphire Princess sails to, whilst the cocktail’s mixers include Blue Curacao to evoke the sea, and a splash of Prosecco to signify the fizz and bubbles created by waves in the water. 

The line has also introduced a brand new excursion for 2019, to the Bombay Sapphire Distillery located in Laverstoke, Hampshire. Available on the day of disembarkation in Southampton, this in-depth tour offers guests the chance to learn the process of gin production, taste the signature botanicals for which the distillery is renowned and toast their holiday. 

Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises’ vice president UK and Europe, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Sapphire Princess back for another summer of sailings from Southampton and I really cannot think of a better way to greet her arrival than with a glass of this perfect summer cocktail.

“Guests can enjoy a glass or two of this delicious drink in one of the many bars onboard throughout their cruise and by offering a brand new tour to the Bombay Sapphire Distillery, they have the opportunity to continue their holiday even after they have left the ship.”

Sam Carter, Senior Brand Ambassador for the Bombay Sapphire Distillery, said: “The Sapphire Princess cocktail is a silky smooth, well-balanced libation that takes its inspiration partially from the deep bright blue colour of the Mediterranean Sea and also the countries that the Sapphire Princess sails around.”

Fancy making it for yourself then here’s Sapphire Princess Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients:

45ml Bombay Sapphire Gin
15ml Blue Curacao
15ml MARTINI Bianco Vermouth
15ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
Splash of Prosecco
 
Glassware: chilled martini cocktail glass

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Bombay Sapphire is distilled in Laverstoke Hampshire

Method: Squeeze the lemon juice into a cocktail shaker and add all other ingredients (except the sparkling wine)  including lots of cubed ice and shake well for 10 seconds. Using a fine tea strainer, strain the cocktail into a martini cocktail glass and add a splash of Prosecco. Garnish by squeezing an orange peel disc over the drink, allowing the oils from the orange skin to rest on the top of the drink. Then using a knife, make a cut 1/3rd of the way through the orange peel disc and place on the rim edge of the glass.

Sam Carter, Senior Brand Ambassador, Bombay Sapphire Distillery
Sam Carter, Senior Brand Ambassador for the Bombay Sapphire onboard Sapphire Princess

 

The new cocktail is available on sailings including: 

·   An 11-day Canary Islands cruise, departing October 8, 2019 on Sapphire Princess. Sailing roundtrip from Southampton, ports of call include Vigo, Spain, Madeira (Portugal), Santa Cruz De Tenerife (Spain), Gran Canaria (Canary Islands), Lanzarote (Canary Islands). Prices from £1,099 per person.

·   A 14-day Mediterranean Adventurer cruise, departing August 17, 2019 on Sapphire Princess. Sailing roundtrip from Southampton, ports of call include Seville (Spain), Barcelona (Spain), Marseille (Provence – France), Livorno (Florence/Pisa – Italy) Civitavecchia (Rome – Italy), Alghero (Sardinia), Ceuta (Spanish Morocco – Spain). Prices from £1,249 per person. 

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Sapphire Princess seen sailing from Southampton in 2018 © Andrew McAlpine

Are you sailing on Sapphire Princess this year? and will you be trying this signature drink? As a fan of gin I would certainly be having a taste if i was on board this year!

Thankyou for reading and would love to hear your comments.