Cruise Ships and a Sinking Feeling

Let's start with an image.  Ten swimming pools full of human poo. In one week, the average cruise ship, er . . makes and dumps that much poo LEGALLY as close as three nautical miles from US shore!!  

TEN SWIMMING POOLS OF POOP.  (210,000 gallons)

Add to that 40 swimming pools full of grey water (showers, sinks, laundry, kitchens, bars).  


Detergents and all! (including perchloroethylene from drycleaning, photo-processing wastes, paint waste, solvents, print shop wastes, fluorescent light bulbs, and batteries) 

50 tons of garbage, glass, paper, cardboard, aluminium and steel cans, and plastics. -- tossed right overboard.

35,000 gallons of oil-contaminated water -- these ships take in large quantities of ballast water, which is seawater pumped into the hulls of ships to ensure stability. This water is typically taken in at one port and then discharged at the ship's destination, which can introduce invasive species and serious diseases into U.S. waters. A typical release of ballast water amounts to 1,000 metric tons. 

Between 1993 and 1998, there were 87 confirmed illegal discharges from cruise ships in state waters (81 cases involving oil; 6 involving garbage or plastic). An additional 17 “other alleged incidents” were referred to the countries where the cruise ships were registered. The industry paid more than $30 million in fines for violations and three cruise lines were placed on five-year felony probation.
  • Royal Caribbean admitted (in 2001) in court that they INSTALLED pipes that bypassed the pollution control devices!!  They paid 33.5 MILLION.
  • In April 2002, Carnival Corporation pleaded guilty to falsifying records to cover up pollution by six ships over several years. They were assessed an $18 million fine
IN ADDITION to the water pollution, cruise ships are a hazard to the air we breathe.  They emit particulates that cause health problems like athsma, as well as more heat-trapping carbon dioxide per passenger mile than aircraft.  Most cruise ships burn bunker fuel, which is 1,000 times dirtier than the fuel burned in diesel trucks. While at port, the main engines are turned off, and diesel engines are revved to sustain refrigeration, electricity, pumps . . . demanding that on-board power come from port electric could instantly make a difference.

What to do?



If you must imprison yourself on one of these floating fecal vessels, investigate the cruise line to be sure their ships do not have a record of pollution. If you are on a cruise ship and observe any dumping of plastic or hazardous materials to sea, you should report it to the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802. 

This is what you're protecting.

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