Activists protest Seattle cruise terminal expansion at industry event

November 6, 2019, 350 Seattle ask Port to consider Carnival Corporation’s criminal record as part of supplemental Request For Proposal process

Traditional Puget Sound Salish and Duwamish Lands (SEATTLE, WA) — Environmental activists with and 350 Seattle protested the Port of Seattle’s Cruise Terminal 46 expansion proposal outside the Cruise Connections industry event on Wednesday, November 6, in downtown Seattle, calling out the Port for considering doing business with companies like Carnival Corporation that have a decade-long criminal record of felony violations. The event was co-sponsored by the Port of Seattle and Cruise Lines International Association.

Outside the event, the activists donned dolphin and polar bear costumes and held signs and large banners that read “Carnival’s Crimes: Bad for Business” while chanting “Dirty ships have got to go” to express their concern over how the cruise terminal expansion proposal would impact local air quality and water quality, and contribute to global climate change. Inside the event, activists interrupted the welcome speech by cruise executives by standing up and revealing shirts saying “Carnival’s pollution: Bad for business” and respirator masks saying “Carnival pollutes.” 

See photos and video from the protest: 

The Port is currently engaged in a process to select a developer for the proposed Terminal 46 Cruise Terminal. They are reviewing bids from three consortiums, one of which includes Carnival Corporation. Holland America, which is headquartered in Seattle, is a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation. Several Holland America cruise ships travel from Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. to Alaska.

“Carnival Corporation is currently on criminal probation in the U.S. following seven felony convictions for illegally dumping oily waste into the ocean for years and falsifying records to cover it up. Worse still, the company recently pleaded guilty to violating its probation, by illegally dumping wastewater and plastic into the ocean, burning dirty fuel where it wasn’t allowed, and other serious violations. The Port of Seattle should put its environmental values into practice by avoiding doing business with criminal entities like Carnival Corporation,” said Jim Ace, Climate Campaigner with 

A Holland America cruise ship that travels from Seattle to Alaska was implicit in Carnival Corporation’s egregious criminal behavior for illegally discharging gray water into Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park, and failing to report it immediately to the Coast Guard.

In October, 350 Seattle submitted a letter to the Port of Seattle asking for a supplemental RFP process that considers Carnival Corporation’s criminal record for its environmental crimes. The letter also requests a comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment to better understand the pollution impacts from the expansion. 350 Seattle is also asking the port to consider a broad range of environmental impacts during the scoping process for the cruise terminal expansion, which runs through November 13th. 

“The Port of Seattle’s initial RFP failed to require that critical information is disclosed to the public about the corporate entities involved in this proposed cruise terminal expansion. The public has a right to make an informed decision about a project that puts the health of their communities and the climate at risk, including cruise companies’ criminal records and the potential pollution residents may be exposed to. The RFP must encompass comprehensive, independent tests to ensure Seattle residents are safe from the toxic air pollution these cruise ships emit, and complete transparency regarding the types and amounts of fuel, emissions, and discharges these ships will produce,” said Stacy Oaks, Organizer with 350 Seattle. 

Seattle residents join other port communities around the world fighting cruise terminal expansions, including a London proposal withdrawn in 2018 due to community opposition; a Charleston, South Carolina expansion that now faces a challenge in the State Supreme Court; a move by Italy’s transport minister to ban big cruise ships from docking in Venice’s historic center; and other cities including Dublin, Santorini, Barcelona, and Cannes that have limited cruise ship visits.

About leads the international Clean Up Carnival coalition calling on Carnival Corporation to clean up its environmental practices, including ending its use of heavy fuel oil. In January 2019, released a study commissioned from a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health faculty member showing that air pollution on the decks of Carnival ships can be as bad or worse than some of the world’s most polluted cities.

About 350 Seattle
350 Seattle works toward climate justice by organizing people to make deep system change: resisting fossil fuels; building momentum for healthy alternatives; and fostering resilient, just, and welcoming communities.

Media contact: Virginia Cleaveland,, 510-858-9902 (US) or 778-984-3994 (Canada)