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BNT prepared to help govt draft cruise ship dumping legislation

The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) said in a statement on Wednesday that it is prepared to help the government draft legislation that will lead to penalties for cruise lines that are found to have polluted The Bahamas’ marine environment.

BNT’s statement notes that it expects cruise ship companies to act with the utmost environmental standards and policies at the forefront of their businesses when operating in Bahamian waters and the oceans in general.

Carnival Cruise Line pleaded guilty in 2016 to dumping food waste and treated sewage into the ocean and was fined $40 million by a U.S. district court. Carnival was also given a five-year probation, but violated the terms of that probation.

A subsequent report revealed that Carnival had also dumped its refuse in Bahamian waters.

BNT noted that it takes the matter very seriously and is looking into Carnival’s behavior.

“As a defender of the oceans and the environment more generally, the BNT is very concerned about this issue and is taking a close look at this matter,” the BNT statement points out.

“We trust that the relevant government agencies are aware of these charges and will be tracking developments so as to discourage future occurrences of such destructive and illegal practices, in Bahamian waters and elsewhere in our oceans.

“We note the recent comments in the press attributed to Dionisio D’Aguilar, minister of tourism and aviation on this issue. We agree with the sentiments expressed by him and are prepared to lend our support to help The Bahamas create any policies and/or legislation needed to better regulate the cruise lines and visiting pleasure craft, as well as the local pleasure and commercial fleets.”

BNT stated it will always be concerned about the potential for environmental damage from the cruise industry, but pointed out that the industry has demonstrated a commitment to cleaning up its act.

“We therefore accept their efforts to be good environmental stewards,” the BNT stated.

“Nonetheless, the recent report on Carnival’s abuses teaches us that there is still room for improvement and that we have to remain vigilant.”

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
Contractor: Bahamas
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