Judge threatens to ban Carnival cruise ships from docking in US ports

Escorted by water-squirting tugs, the new Carnival Glory arrives in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on July 11, 2003. Photo: Getty Images/Andy Newman

A Miami federal judge has threatened to impose a temporary ban on cruise ships belonging to Carnival Corps, a British-American cruise operator, from docking in US ports.

This is in response to a possible violation by the company of its five-year probation for illegally dumping oil from its Princess Cruise ships into the ocean. The company has allegedly been carrying out the practice for the previous eight years according to US state department.

The court ordered probation began in April 2017 and is part of a USD40 million settlement agreement. The company was also required to undergo inspections by third-party auditors during the probation period.

However, evidence has surfaced to suggest that, since 2018, Carnival Corps has been providing pre-prepared ships to the auditors, to avoid any unfavourable outcomes. The company has also been allegedly falsifying records and discharging grey water and dumping plastic rubbish into both the waters of Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park and the ocean respectively.

Prosecutors have also claimed that Carnival Corps has tried to lobby the United States Coast Guard to change the terms of the settlement agreement.

Carnival’s chief communications officer Roger Frizzell issued a statement after the hearing, saying, “It appears there were some mischaracterizations made by others to the court. We intend to fully address the issues raised at today’s court conference”.

United States District Judge Patricia Seitz will make the decision in June on whether there is sufficient evidence to revoke the probation. Judge Seitz has also offered to visit the detention centre with members of the executive committee, in a bid to help them to focus more clearly on the issues at hand.