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Readers may already know about the actions by crew and engineering officers on board several Princess ships, including Caribbean Princess, that has led to Princess Cruises being fined $40m for marine pollution. Essentially, on some ships the practice of discharging untreated (and therefore contaminated) bilgewater into the sea had arisen. These actions were apparently reported by a British engineering crew member (possibly temporary?) who reported them to UK authorities when the ship he was on (Caribbean Princess) reached Southampton. This was in 2013; Princess and various authorities have been investigating ever since, and the fine represents a proposed final settlement. It’s being dealt with in the US legal system and I’m not quite sure why that is, but perhaps it’s because there’s a very tangled international web here: the incident that was first reported occurred in UK waters; then it was discovered that the unlawful practices were commonly followed on the relevant ships on cruises all over the world; the ship was registered in the Bahamas, I believe; and Princess Cruises is ultimately an American corporation. So I suppose the ultimate sanction could only come via the US legal system.

Here are a few links: first, to a detailed story about the affair, and secondly to a page on the Princess website that gives Princess Cruises’ response. To their credit, they have not tried to minimise the seriousness of the issue but have cooperated with the authorities and have made appropriate changes internally.

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