A record $40 million fine has been levied against Princess Cruise Lines for using a secret bypass pipe to dump oil into the Atlantic Ocean for nearly a decade, according to a press release issued by the US Department of Justice on Thursday.
The settlement required that the company plead guilty to seven felony charges and undergo court-supervised environmental monitoring for the next five years, the release explained.
“The US investigation was initiated after information was provided to the US Coast Guard by the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency indicating that a newly hired engineer on the Caribbean Princess reported that a so-called ‘magic pipe’ had been used on Aug. 23, 2013, to illegally discharge oily waste off the coast of England,” the release stated.
The whistleblowing engineer quit when the Caribbean Princess reached the United Kingdom. Senior ship engineers then ordered a cover-up and directed subordinates to lie to investigators, the release noted.
The investigation revealed that the ship dumped more than 4,000 gallons of oil about 23 miles of the UK coast in August 2013, while indicating that the vessel had been illegally discharging oil since 2005.
A subsequent inspection revealed that the Caribbean Princess continued dumping oil as late as March 2014, the release added.