MIAMI, Apr 23 2017 – The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) says a Caribbean cruise line has been ordered to pay a US$40 million penalty – the largest-ever for crimes involving deliberate vessel pollution – related to illegal dumping overboard of oil contaminated waste and falsification of official logs in order to conceal the discharges.
The DOJ said the sentence was imposed here on Princess Cruise Lines Ltd. (Princess) by US District Judge Patricia A. Seitz.
Judge Seitz also ordered that US$1 million be awarded to a British engineer, who first reported the illegal discharges to the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), which in turn provided the evidence to the US Coast Guard, the DOJ said.
It said the newly hired engineer on the Caribbean Princess reported that a so-called “magic pipe” had been used on August 23, 2013, to illegally discharge oily waste off the coast of England without the use of required pollution prevention equipment.
The evidence gathered by the whistleblower, including photographs of the magic pipe, led to an inspection of the cruise ship both in England and then when it reached New York on Sept. 14, 2013, the DOJ said.
During each of the separate inspections, the DOJ said certain crew members concealed the illegal activity by lying to the authorities in accordance with orders they had received from Caribbean Princess engineering officers.
The August 2013 discharge about 23-miles off the coast of England involved about 4,227 gallons within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the DOJ said.
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