The fine was originally imposed by a district court in Miami. The company was charged with seven felonies after a British engineer came forward in disgust over the company’;s knowing efforts to pollute. The engineer recorded supervisors instructing workers to bypass the ship’s filtration system in an effort to avoid the costs of properly offloading oil-contaminated water.
The Justice Department describes a “magic pipe” intentionally installed to commit the crimes:
The U.S. investigation was initiated after information was provided to the U.S. Coast Guard by the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) indicating that a newly hired engineer on the Caribbean Princess reported that a so-called “magic pipe” had been used on Aug. 23, 2013, to illegally discharge oily waste off the coast of England. The whistleblowing engineer quit his position when the ship reached Southampton, England. The chief engineer and senior first engineer ordered a cover-up, including removal of the magic pipe and directing subordinates to lie. The MCA shared evidence with the U.S. Coast Guard, including before and after photos of the bypass used to make the discharge and showing its disappearance. The U.S. Coast Guard conducted an examination of the Caribbean Princess upon its arrival in New York City, New York, on Sept. 14, 2013, during which certain crew members continued to lie in accordance with orders they had received from Princess employees.
While the Justice Department insisted that “We’re sending a strong message in this case to the entire industry,” it seems a bit of a mixed message. Officials could easily conclude that even knowing criminality and a cover up will not result in individual criminal charges.
24 thoughts on “Princess Cruises Hit With Record $40 Million Fine After Knowing Effort To Pollute Waters And Later Cover Up”
“In the United States, according to a special provision in the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (33 U.S.C, Section 1908 a), individuals involved in reporting a violation that leads to a conviction are eligible to receive up to half of the fine incurred by the company.” (marinedefenders.com)
So how much of a reward did the whistleblower engineer receive?
@Roscoe P. Coltrane, April 21, 2017 at 12:08 pm
“Well would you accept gross disregard for the law?
“How about gross negligence?
“If a group of people collectively ignore their responsibilities they have been previously charged with isn’t that a conspiracy by default?
“You sound like a PR spokesman for BP.”
Actually, RC, I was trying to sound like a spokesman for the CIA:
“Conspiracy theory’s acutely negative connotations may be traced to liberal historian Richard Hofstadter’s well-known fusillades against the “New Right.” Yet it was the Central Intelligence Agency that likely played the greatest role in effectively ‘weaponizing’ the term.
“In the groundswell of public skepticism toward the Warren Commission’s findings on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the CIA sent a detailed directive to all of its bureaus. Titled “Countering Criticism of the Warren Commission Report,” the dispatch played a definitive role in making the ‘conspiracy theory’ term a weapon to be wielded against almost any individual or group calling the government’s increasingly clandestine programs and activities into question.”
I am, after the military, also former merchant marine. and worked on tankers as well as regular types of cargo ships. I applaud the fine but not the size (too small) and not holding Company Officers responsible. BP got away with murdering the Gulf on that offshore spill and responded with an illegal control method as their first action. Considering our vast new oil strikes and field opening up we now export or can use low polluting methods such as pipelines in US, Canada and Mexico and A. Do NOT NEED to import at all plus B. do not not need to have any offshore drilling.
C. The safest way to transport energy is convert it to electricity at or near it’s source get off this stupid ethanol kick which only served to drive up the price of food for humans and animals and buy votes*, and when needed use diesel instead of gas. Electrical cars? Anyone add in the cost of charging them to their electrical bill? A point always left out.
To use ethanol the Ford F150 now runs 12 on board computers one for monitoring and adjust ing for various types of ethanol laced fuel. Fuel has double in price not counting the spikes and surges since 1999.not counting the devaluation of the dollar so it’s really tripled.
Not the citizens and consumers. nor the ecology as it takes a gallon of fossil fuel to make a gallon of ethanol.
Isn’t this an example of the Holder Doctrine “too big to jail”?
The protection of people at the ‘top’ is based on the assumption that without the people at the ‘top’ all the rest of the people would be introduced to less and even chaos. This assumption is fostered and nurtured by the people at the ‘top’ to protect their interests which would not be there without all the rest of the people. The fact of the matter, logistically, and obviously, is that there is an endless flow of potential to fill any and every position at the ‘top’. So, in order to get the best to those positions, those that abuse their positions must be removed and taken down to the bottom, preferably jail. Their fortunes should be forfeited and they should stand as both an example of the riches available to those who aspire, achieve, and maintain as well as a warning to others who feel they are above the law.
The greater the rewards, the greater the punishment. The greater the responsibility, the greater the punishment. ETC
Ban them from operating in any ocean for 5 years. Won’t happen again.
The company should pay a massive fine because it profited as an entity. The humans who made the decisions should go to jail! The corporate veil is their to protect investors NOT CORPORATE EXECUTIVES WHO ACT CRIMINALLY. Of course, that’s “news” to judges and prosecutors.
If you have enough money and power you are virtually and actually above the law. It won’t get any better any time soon now that we have another president that public ally claims immunity because of his status.
What cruise line is Obama using right now? That could make a difference. Personally, I think the principals should be fined, but the decision has already been made.
U gotta leave shit where shit,is from lol
“What is astonishing is the failure to hit company officials with individual charges in [a] long conspiracy to pollute U.S. waters.”
Now, let me just stop you right there. People never “conspire” to do anything. To assert that they do is to plunge into “conspiracy theory” madness.
What probably happened is that the employees of the cruise line, hardly even knowing each other, simply misunderstood each other on the rare occasions when they did communicate, and that the pollution of the water was just an unfortunate accident, or possibly even an act of God.
What we may be certain of, however, is that there was no “conspiracy” to pollute the water and then cover up the fact of having done so, because that would involve theorizing about the behavior of the cruise line employees.
As to the”whistleblowing engineer” who quit his position on arriving in port, we all know what troublemakers disgruntled former employees can be.
In summary, the Justice Department did the right thing by not charging individually the non-conspiratorial cruise line employees who deliberately polluted the water off the US Coast and then tried to cover it up.
Well would you accept gross disregard for the law?
How about gross negligence?
If a group of people collectively ignore their responsibilities they have been previously charged with isn’t that a conspiracy by default?
You sound like a PR spokesman for BP.
Prosecutors must have let them go because prosecutors mistakenly thought the offending crew members worked for Goldman Sachs.
Make the offending crew members walk the plank.
You mean like that Mexican American woman on Tucker Carlson last night who made up an American’s social security number so she could go to work for Goldman Sachs and had the temerity to tell Tucker that’s what she HAD to do because our Immigration Laws didn’t work for her.
She was truly annoying. Another proof that for some people in America crime does pay.
And, that $40 million will go where and for what? Does the $40 million go to clean up the pollutants in the water? How was the $40 million determined and what percentage of Carnival’s gross income does that fine, of $40 million, equal? More importantly, why are there no criminal charges against those who ordered this flagrant violation of the law? The Fun Ships, my @$$. And, silly me, I thought that they disposed of the rotten and polluted oily waste water at the midnight buffet.
If it got within 1,000 miles of CA Gov Jerry Brown would appropriate it for his Vacation Train boondoggle.
Also, this type of dump likely dissipates, which is why they’d been getting away with it. I wish it had been easier to detect and clean up, but it’s likely deep in the food web by now.
I believe a proper response would be an indefinite ban on PCL cruise ships in US waters. I believe it is within the power of the US Coast Guard to impose such a ban. That will cost them way more than $40m.
I agree with you, but, somehow, I believe that Carnival is not the only line committing such atrocities. If dumping this waste was ordered in an effort to save the cruise line money, undoubedtly, it is transpiring amongst all of the cruise lines. Had a disgruntled employee not spilled the beans with regard to Carnival’s antics, this would have remained a mystery, probably as it is with the behavior of the other cruise lines. A better solution would be to vigorously prosecute those responsible for these crimes and make examples of them–not to throw the baby out with the bath water by depriving hundreds of jobs or thousands of a vacation. Prosecute those responsible, make the fines reflect a significant impact for Carnival and send a stark and impactful message to the other lines. If the punishment is perceived as outweiging the benefit to these lines, this behavior will stop–across the board. One of the problems is that this story is not high-profile enough to cause the bad PR needed for Carnival to wholeheartedly adopt the necessary changes of its own accord. Think United Airlines. That video of the passenger, bloodied and being dragged down the isle, broadcast the world over, is forcing United, and the other airlines, to change behavior. Does anyone even know about this story involving Carnival?
Professor Turley mentioned that it was criminal conduct, but not what the specific law, or punishment, was. I am as equally unfamiliar with maritime law as I am with any other law. I do, however, know that if they can prove that these egregious deliberate actions harmed any marine mammals, it would run afoul of the Marine Mammals Protection Act.
The law is supposed to be blind. If it would be a felony if a guy on a 40 foot vessel did it, then it should be a felony if a cruise ship did the same. The fine was punitive and hopefully a deterrent, but that creates a type of debtors prison, where those without the funds to pay off enormous fines theoretically get criminally charged and sentenced. I suspect that the government sensed a whale and experienced a Pavlovian response, putting its hand out.
A problem with charging company officials, or even companies themselves for criminal violations, is that it requires out-of-the-box thinking by prosecutors and law enforcement officers. The criminal justice system is geared to prosecute individuals and procedurally it requires more steps to go after a company or its executives.
I have long maintained that this is not so much a hurdle as it seems. my knowledge of federal criminal procedure is limited but for my state statutorily a corporation can be held to an equivalent punishment that could be levied against an individual. Unfortunately, that has never been fully tested in the courts as LEOs and prosecutors haven’t fully pursued such measures, and the resistance from management is even more restrictive.
For me if a company conspired to break a particular law, and it wasn’t just an employee acting stupidly on his own, then if an individual can be sentenced under determinate sentencing law to six months in jail, depriving them of their liberty, then a company should also be forced to cease operations for six months. Unfortunately, we treat companies with kid gloves until an egregious violation takes place.
Wouldn’t the executive, or engineer, or whomever who actually gave the order that went down the line of command be criminally liable? That is the part that I have trouble understanding as far as the protection that corporations enjoy. At the base of it all, wasn’t it a human being(s) who made the decision and would therefor be culpable? For instance, individual employees get arrested for embezzling. It seems to be easier to prosecute when either the company was the victim, or if it was anything involving the medical field – violation of HIPPA or falsifying records for FDA trials.
Newscasts of street criminals being arrested does not often deter career criminals from committing other crimes. But, marching company executives out of buildings by FBI agents is effective for white collar crime committed by most execs.
As long as people think that the worst they will lose is the company’s money (which is no longer run where a board has their own financial stake), then they may keep doing this and hope they don’t get caught.
What we need to find out is if this is industry standard, one of those common cheats no one talks about.
Comments are closed.