The cruise industry seems to be spending the summer of '99 running
its dirty laundry up the mast. First came the messy allegations of
shipboard sex crimes committed by Carnival staff. Now Royal
Caribbean International's skivvies are under scrutiny.
The cruise line reportedly will plead guilty to 21 counts of
dumping oil and hazardous chemicals in U.S. waters. Even more
damaging, at least in terms of image, are reports that Royal
Caribbean lied to the Coast Guard about its practices.
We're not talking about little white lies. The Attorney
General's office says that RCI actually installed illegal sewage
pipes that bypassed the cleaning mechanism, pipes that crew members
ditched whenever government inspectors paid a visit.
Then there's the matter of cooking the books. RCI officials have
admitted keeping a set of dummy logs that hid the dumping. For
these transgressions Royal Caribbean will pay a whopping $18
million in fines. A record. Of course, RCI is no stranger to
records. Last year it paid a record $9 million in fines. What for?
Doing the same thing. I guess they can afford it.