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Norweigian Cruise Line pleads guilty in pollution case

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  • m_dragonknight
    ... MIAMI - Norwegian Cruise Line yesterday joined a growing list of big cruise lines pleading guilty to U.S. charges arising from the dumping of oily bilge
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2002
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      MIAMI - Norwegian Cruise Line yesterday joined a growing list of big
      cruise lines pleading guilty to U.S. charges arising from the dumping
      of oily bilge into the world's seas.
      The Miami-based NCL, which is owned by Asia's Star Cruises and has a
      fleet of nine ships, including the SS Norway, said it had signed a
      plea bargain admitting to a single violation of U.S. anti-pollution
      laws.

      NCL, the world's fourth largest cruise operator, pleaded guilty to
      lying in government-required sea logs and agreed to pay a $1 million
      fine and to contribute $500,000 to environmental organizations in
      Florida, according to the U.S. Department of Justice and the company.

      Prosecutors said NCL engineers at sea had routinely dumped oily waste
      water into oceans, diverting it from passing through a device for
      removing filth. In addition, NCL crew falsified logs detailing the
      discharges, according to prosecutors.

      "NCL has admitted that it engaged in a practice of systematically
      lying to the United States Coast Guard over a period of years
      regarding the discharge of oil-contaminated bilge waste from the SS
      Norway and at least one other ship," the Justice Department said in a
      news release.

      Bigger cross-town rivals Carnival Corp and Royal Caribbean have also
      pleaded guilty in pollution cases.

      Carnival, the biggest cruise group with 43 vessels, in April agreed
      to pay $18 million and pleaded guilty to six felony pollution counts.
      No. 2 Royal Caribbean paid $27 million in fines and penalties to
      settle ocean-dumpling complaints from the late 1990s.

      NCL's plea bargain was the seventh conviction of a cruise line on
      environmental violations and the third time a fine has been paid by a
      cruise line, according to prosecutors.

      "The sad fact remains that the practice of dumping waste oil and
      maintaining false log books has proved to be commonplace in the
      maritime and cruise ship industry," U.S. Assistant Attorney General
      Tom Sansonetti said.

      The Justice Department said the company had voluntarily brought the
      violations to prosecutors two years ago, when they were discovered by
      an environmental consultant carrying out an audit for new owners of
      NCL. A former employee had already tipped the government, the Justice
      Department said.

      Colin Veitch, chief executive of NCL, said his company regretted the
      violations and that the cruise line was working hard against
      pollution.

      "We took responsibility and fixed the problem, at a very substantial
      cost," Veitch said. "We deeply regret the past actions we found upon
      our purchase of NCL."

      Prosecutors said seven senior NCL staff had resigned or been
      dismissed during the inquiries, which were continuing with an eye to
      possibly bringing charges against unnamed individuals.



      Story by Michael Connor

      Story Date: 1/8/2002
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