We previously reported about another instance of a major cruise line absolutely disregarding the law, and attempting to cover up their intentional violation of international laws involving contaminating the waterways. This past Wednesday, a United States District Judge sentenced Princess Cruise Lines, owned by Carnival Cruise Lines, to pay $40 million dollars in penalties, which is the largest penalty ever imposed for crimes involving deliberate pollution by a vessel of the waterways. Princess Cruise Lines, as other major cruise lines have in the past, was found to have illegally dumped overboard oil contaminated waste, and then attempted to cover up the violations by falsifying official records. As I have stated before, intentionally disregarding the law, and lying to authorities in order to cover up the violations, is not a first to the cruise ship industry. In the past, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line pled guilty to felony charges of also illegally polluting the waterways and falsifying official records to cover up the violations of the laws. In this most recent example of another major cruise line disregarding the law and lying to authorities, U.S. District Judge also ordered that $1 million be paid to the British engineer aboard the Princess Cruise ship who first exposed the illegal dumping of waste into the waterways. He initially reported the illegality to the British maritime and Coast Guard Agency, who then provided the evidence to the United States Coast Guard.
Princess cruise lines reached an agreement last December to pled guilty to the seven felony charges stemming from illegally dumping oil contaminated waste at sea and then intentionally covering up the violations. Thus, Princess is another cruise line with felony convictions, making it a felon. As I have said before, if an individual testifies in a court of law, a prior felony conviction involving dishonestly may be used to attack the witnesses’ credibility. I see no reason why these felony convictions of the major cruise ship companies should not be admissible in a court of law to attack the credibility of the cruise ship companies when they come into court and make representations as to how safe their cruise ship is, and testify about their safety records. How can we trust that the representations made by the cruise ship companies, who are convicted felons, are indeed truthful?
We have warned that the public should not take as necessarily true representations made from cruise ship companies regarding the safety of their vessels. In fact, recent legislation, the Cruise Ship Vessel Safety and Security Act, and recent legislation being proposed at this time, the Cruise Passenger Protection Act, is legislation that is designed to require more truthful disclosures on the part of the cruise ship industry to the public can be more aware of safety issues aboard cruise ships. Public awareness of these type of issues occurring onboard cruise ships is critical to the public making informed decisions regarding their travel plans.