While Carnival Corporation’s European cruise brand AIDA Cruises has confirmed that it is returning to the Dubai cruise market for the coming 2020/21 season, the world’s largest cruise company may be banned from sailing in the US until at least January.
The potential ban on US sailing for Carnival Corporation is due to US District Judge for the Southern District of Florida Patricia Seitz, who announced that she will require the company to comply with their probation obligations 60-days before ships re-enter U.S. waters.
Seitz is heading an investigation against the company for environmental crimes, and is reportedly concerned about Carnival’s compliance ability following repeated lapses in adherence to regulations, according to the Miami Herald.
The 60 day probation order essentially means that no Carnival Corporation ship can resume cruises to or from the US for 60 days after submission of a certification from CEO Arnold Donald regarding its environmental compliance.
In her order, Seitz detailed a number of critical issues that she said need to be addressed, which are among a wide-range of ancillary problems, as many as 700 for some ships, although Seitz indicated that she is not requiring the company to rectify every one of these problems immediately.
“Do I want to get down and look at every single nut and bolt? No, 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,” she said.
The non-compliance issues range from failing to have the correct pollution-prevention equipment, and lacking environmental spares, to staffing issues, and faulty voyage planning.
Some ships have also been accused of discharging sewage, plastic and other waste at sea, including in protected marine reserves. In 2016, Princess Cruises, was fined US $40 million for having discharge infrastructure onboard that would allow the clandestine dumping of pollutants.
According to Sietz, Carnival Corporation has failed to comply with these regulations throughout their years on probation.
Given that it takes at least a month to get a cruise ship back in operation after an extended lay-up period, if the judge’s order is confirmed, Carnival Corporation will have to delay its US cruise restart until January at the earliest.
The company is currently working toward a US cruise restart date of December 1st.