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Carnival Corporation fleet sinks to new lows in FOE's Cruise Ship Report Card

In the United States (US), the environmental watchdog Friends of the Earth (FOE) has recently released the 2019 edition of its Cruise Ship Report Card, documenting the environmental footprint of the cruise industry and grading 16 cruise lines and their 185 ships. All seven cruise companies under the Carnival Corporation brand received an F grade for their "blatant illegal pollution."

Norwegian fjords and fish farms – as the first cruise line in the world, Hurtigruten will power some of its ships with liquified biogas (LBG), a fossil-free, renewable fuel produced from residues from the fishing industry and other organic wastes (photo courtesy Hurtigruten).

Norwegian fjords and fish farms – as the first cruise line in the world, Hurtigruten will power some of its ships with liquified biogas (LBG), a fossil-free, renewable fuel produced from residues from the fishing industry and other organic wastes. European cruise ship operators were not included in the 2019 FOE Cruise Ship Report Card (photo courtesy Hurtigruten).

The report card, last released in 2016, shows an ongoing lack of initiative by most cruise companies to reduce their air and water pollution impact on travel destinations and local peoples. However, according to Friends of the Earth (FOE), all seven cruise companies under the Carnival Corporation brand, the world’s largest leisure travel company, received an F grade for their “blatant illegal pollution.”

Over the last two and a half years, Carnival Corporation has been on criminal probation in the United States (US) for illegally dumping oily waste into the ocean and obstruction of justice for hiding it from regulators. Despite being on probation, each of the company’s cruise lines says FOE, continued to commit hundreds of environmental crimes, including dumping wastewater and plastic into the ocean and polluting air in excess of federal and state rules.

One of the worst violations was the illegal discharge of 26 000 gallons of polluted greywater into Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska.

Carnival Corporation’s despicable behavior shows that we cannot take this polluting industry’s claims of environmental responsibility at face value. This entire industry must be investigated and held accountable for its destructive behavior. Carnival Corporation should be forced to spend some of their massive profits to clean up the communities they have dumped on. This egregious case of wrongdoing shows just how critically we need federal agency and congressional oversight of cruise industry pollution practices, said Marcie Keever, Oceans and Vessels program director for Friends of the Earth.

Four criteria

Friends of the Earth’s report card grades cruise lines on four criteria: sewage treatment technology; air pollution reduction (whether ships have installed shoreside power and are using it at port or if they use cleaner fuel than required by US and international law); compliance with Alaska’s water quality regulations to protect the state’s coastal waters; and transparency.

According to the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA), each day at sea an average cruise ship emits more sulphur dioxide (SO2) than 13 million cars and produces about 21 000 gallons of sewage. While some cruise ships have made changes to reduce their pollution, including using cleaner fuel and the most advanced sewage treatment systems, much of the industry is still lagging behind.

While the cruise industry continues to make claims about pollution reduction, their behavior says otherwise. Cruise lines are largely failing when it comes to air and water pollution reduction. Excess pollution from these ships can cause serious health problems, destroy habitats and exacerbate climate change. It is time for the industry to change their behavior in order to protect the oceans they are cruising on and the communities they travel to, said Marcie Keever.

About Carnival Corporation & plc

Carnival Corporation is incorporated in Panama, and Carnival plc is incorporated in England and Wales. Carnival Corporation and Carnival plc operate a dual listed company (DLC) arrangement, whereby the businesses of Carnival Corporation and Carnival plc are combined and they function as a single economic entity through contractual agreements between separate legal entities. Combined the Carnival Corporation & plc operates 104 vessels in nine companies.

Shareholders of Carnival Corporation and Carnival plc have the same economic and voting interest but their shares are listed on different stock exchanges and are not fungible. Carnival Corporation is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol CCL. Carnival plc is traded on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol CCL and as an American Depository Share on the NYSE

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