Green groups call on Congress to not bail out rule-breaking cruise industry

March 20, 2020

Workers and communities, not polluting corporations, should be priority during coronavirus crisis

WASHINGTON – A coalition of green groups including, Greenpeace, and Friends of the Earth US wrote a letter today to the U.S. House and Senate leadership opposing any bailout to the cruise industry during the coronavirus health crisis. 

In the letter, the groups call on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi to instead focus on providing relief to impacted workers and affected communities, not the rule-breaking cruise industry. 

Read the letter:

The cruise industry has notoriously opposed common-sense regulations and pollutes with abandon, even when under federal court oversight. Since the 1990s all major cruise companies have been caught polluting, been fined millions of dollars, and/or been on federal probation. In 2018, Miami-based Carnival Corporation, which claims by far the largest share of the global market, paid almost no US taxes as a foreign corporation (Panama) with all of its more than 100 ships registered in other countries.

“The cruise industry has an abysmal track record. These companies are incorporated overseas to avoid paying almost all U.S. taxes and circumvent U.S. labor laws. Companies also have a long history of flouting U.S. environmental regulations, which is why any bailout must include strong air and water pollution measures,” said Kendra Ulrich, Shipping Campaign Director at “Most cruise ships burn heavy fuel oil, one of the dirtiest fossil fuels available, and the air quality on cruise ships can be worse than some of the world’s most polluted cities. If the federal government wants to bail out the cruise industry, there need to be clear stipulations on how the money is spent, first by benefiting impacted workers and the health of local communities, not by lining executives’ pockets.”

“The cruise ship industry should not be rewarded for polluting our oceans, breaking laws, harming communities and mistreating workers,” said Marcie Keever, oceans and vessels program director at Friends of the Earth. “Congress must hold the cruise industry accountable for its past abuses and not provide them a single dime before the American people are secure. We must make people and the environment the priority during this health crisis, not cruise industry profits.” 


Media contact: Virginia Cleaveland, Communications Manager,,, 510-858-9902

For expert interviews: Kendra Ulrich, Shipping Program Director,,, 360-255-3555