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‘Carnival seeing a decline in environmental incidents’

An incident where a Carnival cruise ship discharged “a considerable amount of rust” into the Nassau Harbour was “regrettable,” Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) Vice President for Environmental Operations Richard Pruitt said.

It was 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.

In January, The Tribune reported 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 on March 6, 2019.

Despite the recent incidents, Pruitt told The Guardian the company has seen a decline in incidents of discharge, which is also known as dumping.

“Based on the numbers that we saw, the number of non-compliant discharges and operations that we’ve had are coming down,” Pruitt said.

He continued, “I think it’s reflecting the success we’re having in improvements in technology; improvements in procedures, improvements with human resources, programs for drawing greater focus on the need, a general cultural improvement in the company.

“We’ve modified our operations to try to reduce risk through our planning and scheduling of operations in areas where there might be limitations or restrictions.”

Between April 2017 and March 2018, there were 21 incidents of sewage “regulatory issues” across the corporation’s fleet of vessels according to Carnival Corporation data.

The data also noted that there were 10 incidents between April 2018 and March 2019 and an estimated seven incidents between April 2019 and August 2019.

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 report revealed that its ships also discharged nearly half a million gallons of treated sewage in Bahamian waters.

Pruitt said all water discharged by Carnival’s cruise ships is “properly treated and managed and discharged in accordance with international standards [and] company policy and even industry standards.”

“I think we have a commitment that’s absolute to doing the right things to making improvements in our operations and our results,” he said.

“We certainly have made significant investments in technology and training and extra human resources onboard, and I think the numbers … show that that’s actually getting the results that we’re looking for.

“But again, our ships are manned by human beings and sometimes technology has breakdowns.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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