Minister of the Environment and Housing Romauld Ferreira said yesterday that 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.
“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 said earlier this month that the government will “take steps” against Carnival Cruise Lines.
Ferreira was responding to a story that appeared in The Tribune earlier this month, which cites information provided by a South Florida court-appointed monitor.
According to the paper, the monitor reported that on March 6, 2019, 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.
The monitor also 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.
Ferreira cited a suite of new environmental protection laws that were passed last year as a means to pursue compensation.
The legislation allows for fines of up to $30 million for environmental offenders.
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.