Judge’s ruling in Carnival case a ‘backroom deal’ with little regard for communities impacted by cruise ship pollution

June 3, 2019

World’s largest cruise operator ordered to pay $20M as part of plea deal, despite earlier threats of significant legal action

MIAMI, FL — A federal judge in Miami ordered Carnival Corporation to pay $20 million in fines over its cruise ship pollution today as part of a plea deal after the world’s largest cruise operator violated the terms of its probation from a 2016 criminal conviction. International environmental organization Stand.earth called the ruling a “backroom deal” with little regard for the communities and individuals who are impacted by cruise ship pollution.

Ahead of the hearing, victims of Carnival’s environmental crimes from the Bahamas and Alaska had filed an emergency motion to intervene in the proceeding, with support from Stand.earth. The judge presiding over the case allowed the victims’ legal counsel to speak at the hearing, but ultimately decided the victims did not have standing under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act. Read the victim statements and other court documents here: http://cleanupcarnival.com/carnival-corp-goes-to-court/

“There was a lot of talk in this case about taking significant legal action to ensure Carnival Corporation ends its criminal behavior. Instead, the communities and individuals impacted by the environmental crimes from this multi-billion dollar corporation ended up with more empty words and another backroom deal that cannot even be characterized as a slap on the wrist. Today’s ruling was a betrayal of the public trust and a continuation of the weak enforcement that has allowed Carnival Corporation to continue to profit by selling the environment to its passengers while its cruise ships contribute to the destruction of the fragile ecosystems they visit,” said Kendra Ulrich, Senior Shipping Campaigner at Stand.earth.

“Carnival’s environmental crimes have victimized individuals, communities, and businesses throughout this country and across the planet. These victims — including those that came before the court — wanted Carnival punished and the environment protected. Instead we slapped Carnival on the wrist again and allowed it to continue its criminal as usual business practices,” said Knoll Lowney, legal counsel for the victims.

Stand.earth has been leading a campaign to call on Carnival Corporation to clean up its environmental practices — including ending its use of one of the dirtiest fossil fuels on earth, heavy fuel oil. In January 2019, Stand.earth 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.

Stand.earth has also been actively engaged at the UN International Maritime Organization to push for an end to the use of heavy fuel oil in the sensitive Arctic ecosystem as well as ending the use of scrubbers — or exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) — as an alternative compliance mechanism to cleaner fuel for air pollution control. Dozens of the violations found by the Court Appointed Monitor in this current case related to failures of the EGCS for a variety of reasons. 


Media contacts:

Kendra Ulrich, Senior Shipping Campaigner, kendra@stand.earth, +1 (360) 255-3555 (In Miami, ET)

Knoll Lowney, Legal Counsel for Victims: knoll@smithandlowney.com, +1 (206) 650-1044 (In Miami, ET)