A federal judge in Miami is warning Carnival Corp. that she plans to hold the cruise line to the parameters of its probation, meaning the company must certify that every ship is compliant 60 days before setting sail again in U.S. waters.
The stern reminder from U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida Patricia Seitz will certainly endanger Carnival’s plan to resume operations on Dec. 1, assuming the Centers for Disease Control lifts its ‘no-sail order’ on Nov. 1, according to the Miami Herald.
Carnival has been on probation since April 2017 after pleading guilty to dumping oily waste into the ocean for a period of eight years from its Princess Cruises ships. It paid a $40 million fine at the time, but just two years later it pleaded guilty again to violating probation with more environmental crimes and paid another $20 million in fines.
This time, Carnival agreed to more oversight of the company.
Seitz said she will consider making her warning official shortly, meaning Carnival will have to notify her 60 days in advance of any ship hitting the water again.
“I will determine whether the level of compliance…whether it is appropriate that that ship enter and operate in U.S. waters,” she said, according to the Herald.
Carnival lawyers David Kelly and David Markus asked Seitz to delay her final ruling given the company’s financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The market has already reacted to this,” Kelly said. “This could have a huge negative impact on the company.”
Before the ships resume operations, Seitz said she is most concerned about them having the right pollution-prevention equipment, critical environmental spare parts, staffing, voyage planning software and vetting of waste vendors on shore, all things the company has struggled to maintain during its years on probation.
“Do I want to get down and look at every single nut and bolt? No,” Seitz said. “But the items I have listed…are areas that need to be addressed because they go to the heart of the repetitive issues that this company has had that has led to compliance issues.”