Princess Cruises admits wrongdoing in ocean pollution scandal

The vacation company is being thrown overboard by consumers for dumping ship waste—and attempted cover up. Here’s how crisis reps responded.

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Princess Cruise lines spent eight years dumping waste from multiple ships into the ocean—now, it’s paying the price.

The U.S. Department of Justice is fining Princess for what it calls “deliberate pollution of the seas and intentional acts to cover it up.” The DOJ said this is its largest fine “involving deliberate vessel pollution.”

Princess will plead guilty to felony charges for the actions of five of its ships, which date back to 2005.

Not only did Princess execs engage in the act of dumping ship waste, they also tried to cover them up in 2013 when a whistle blower alerted British and U.S. authorities.

The case hinged on these ships’ use of something called a “magic pipe,” which was able to skirt the ship’s normal water treatment mechanisms and dump its waste directly into the ocean.

The DOJ announced:

The chief engineer and senior first engineer ordered a cover-up, including removal of the magic pipe and directing subordinates to lie.

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