MIAMI, FL. — Carnival Corporation’s chief maritime officer said yesterday the company will invest $48 million over two years to address the issue of sewage discharge.
During a press briefing at Carnival’s headquarters, Admiral William Burke, chief maritime officer, told reporters, “One of the things that came up in The Bahamas is we made some errors in the sewage discharging. And so, I wanted to address those upfront.”
He added, “We’re putting a lot of money into upgrading our advanced waste water treatment systems.”
Burke also noted that the company will revise its sewage discharge policy to ensure that it is “even more conservative”.
Between April 2017 and March 2018, there were 21 incidents of sewage “regulatory issues” across the corporation’s fleet of vessels, according to Burke.
He also noted that there were 10 incidents between April 2018 and March 2019, and an estimated seven incidents between April 2019 and August 2019.
“These sewage discharges are not untreated discharges. It’s treated sewage,” Burke said.
He added, “We’re disappointed that we’ve got these numbers but when you look at it in context, the rate is very small.
“So, of the number of discharges or of the volume of discharges, we’re talking about a very small amount.”
Referring to the sewage discharge, Burke said Carnival has seen a less than 0.01 percent error rate.
Last June, Carnival admitted to six violations of its environmental compliance plan, one of which involved one of its ships dumping plastic and food waste in Bahamian waters.
Only months before, a court-appointed monitor report revealed that its ships also discharged nearly half a million gallons of treated sewage in Bahamian waters.
On January 24, Environment Minister Romauld Ferreira said the government will seek legal action over Carnival’s continued dumping in Bahamian waters once the new department to handle those matters is “up and running”.
“Right now, we do have the capability,” he said at the time.
“As soon as we get the department up and running to prosecute, we will prosecute those issues. There’s no doubt about it that it’s a form of environmental savagery. We don’t support it and we hope to rid our country of it. And this is why we passed the legislation.”
His comments echoed those of Attorney General Carl Bethel who has said that the government will “take steps” against Carnival Cruise Lines.
Last month, The Tribune report that the Holland America MS Maasdam, which is owned by Carnival Corporation, discharged 34 cubic meters of blackwater/sewage in Bahamian waters as it sailed from Half Moon Cay.
It reported that on September 9, 2019, Carnival Sunrise discharged a considerable amount of rust into Nassau Harbour after a technician started up an infrequently used water pump while the vessel was docked at Prince George Wharf.
The information reportedly cites information provided by a South Florida court-appointed monitor.