Chairman Micky Arison and CEO Arnold Donald appeared in a Miami federal courtroom on the orders of U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz, who is hearing the case.
The genesis of the company's legal setback is a 2016 case in which it pleaded guilty to dumping waste into the ocean and covering it up. The cruise company, which has made an agreement to part finance the Cayman Islands Government's proposed controversial cruise berthing facility, has agreed to pay $20 million in a settlement for serious pollution charges. "The company pleads guilty", he reportedly said six times.
A supervised environmental compliance plan, or ECP, revealed "numerous violations" during the first two of five years of probation, which the company started serving in April 2017, including "major non-conformities", Justice Department officials stated in the news release.
Carnival Corp. President Arnold Donald leaves federal court, Monday, June 3, 2019, in Miami. Other violations include falsifying records, communicating with the US Coast Guard through a back channel, failing to give enough authority to the company's environmental compliance officer and rushing to clean up ships ahead of visits by a court-appointed monitor.
Now Carnival has acknowledged that in the years since its ships have committed environmental crimes such as dumping "gray water" in prohibited places such Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park and knowingly allowing plastic to be discharged along with food waste in the Bahamas, which poses a severe threat to marine life.
Seitz at an earlier hearing threatened to bar Carnival from docking at USA ports because of the violations and said she might hold executives individually liable for the probation violations. "My goal is to have the defendant change its behaviour".
Under the settlement, Carnival promised there will be additional audits to check for violations, a restructuring of the company's compliance and training programs, a better system for reporting environmental violations to state and federal agencies and improved waste management practices.
The agreement also would set September 13 and October 9 deadlines to create an improved compliance plan and make other changes, subject to fines of $1 million per day if those deadlines are not met. If a second round of deadlines are not met, the fines could go up to $10 million a day.
Sam Duncombe, head of local environmental group reEarth, was one of three people behind an emergency motion seeking to be recognised in the proceedings as a victim and granted the powers and responsibilities that come with that distinction. Their attorney, Knoll Lowney, expressed skepticism that Carnival will keep its word this time.
"Time and time again, Carnival has shown its contempt of environmental laws and the rule of law", he said.
"These issues were unacceptable failures in our processes that were not in accordance with our policies and procedures, and do not reflect the culture we have built at Carnival Corporation and across our nine cruise line brands", a Carnival representative told Business Insider in April.