A Cruise Lines Company Will Pay $40 Million Fine For Dumping Oil, Grease, and Slime Into The Ocean: But, Should The Owners Go to Jail?

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The Regal Princess' main pool area has a large rectangular pool and a plunge pool surrounded by curving wading areas and two hot tubs.
The immaculate deck of a cruise ship can be deceiving– when oil, grease, and slime is being dumped into the blue waters below deck.
A cruise lines company will pay a $40 million penalty after pleading guilty to seven federal charges involving the dumping of grease, oil, and slime into the ocean.
The penalty was the largest ever of its kind. “The plea agreement filed in federal court also requires Carnival, the UK and US-listed parent company of the Princess line, to submit 78 cruise ships across its eight brands to a five-year environmental compliance program overseen by a judge.” the Guardian reports. The dumping has been going on for years, authorities say.

The New York Times also noted that that employees of the cruise ship, the Caribbean Princess, used several tactics, including a device called a “magic pipe,” to circumvent water-cleaning mechanisms and digital devices monitoring oil levels.

Officials said that four other Princess ships were also found to have engaged in illegal practices to discharge waste.


In his book, Too Big to Jail, the author maintains that corporations get away with major bad acts by paying fines and the owners, or those in charge, do not go to jail. In cases of this nature, someone should be prosecuted criminally and sent to jail. If the average citizen tossed fast food wrappings from their moving car, they would likely be charged with littering if a cop saw them do it.

Here, we have a sickening amount of grease, slime and oil being intentionally dumped into the sea, and the practice appears to be a pattern followed by multiple crew members over an extended time. The illegal acts were undertaken to save money. If the people who run the corporations are not charged criminally, these entities will not have the incentive to stop the practice. We note that they will be supervised by the government for a period. That is a good thing provided the supervisors don’t unreasonably profit as we have seen in other corporate/prosecution cases

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