No Cruise Control
Within 24 hours of Friday’s start of the 2003 cruise season, a ship owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines dumped more than 40 tons of raw sewage into the waters off the coast of Washington state. It’s unclear whether the discharge from the Norwegian Sun was illegal, but the cruise line acknowledged that it violated company policy. The dumping came on the heels of months of disagreement among environmentalists, the Port of Seattle, and other government authorities over notification procedures for discharging waste. Currently, reporting is not mandatory as a condition of docking in the port, a situation environmentalists heavily criticize. “Right now, we want to take the money and turn a blind eye to the liabilities associated with this operation instead of making it easier for these companies to act responsibly,” said Fred Felleman of Ocean Advocates. Last July, Norwegian Cruise Lines was fined $1 million for falsifying records, deliberately bypassing pollution-prevention devices, and dumping oil into the ocean.