A Royal flush: RCI dumps graywater in Alaska

NEW YORK -- Royal Caribbean Intl.'s Rhapsody of the Seas illegally dumped about 200 gallons of graywater (wastewater from sinks and showers) into Juneau harbor June 18 as Coast Guard officials toured the 2,000-passenger ship on a routine environmental and safety inspection.

The Coast Guard will seek civil penalties of up to $25,000 against Royal Caribbean as a result of the incident.

The event comes days after a special session of Alaska's legislature passed the nation's toughest cruise-ship pollution bill.

A crew member noticed the wastewater going overboard at 2:30 p.m. and notified the engine room, which tooks steps to cut off the discharge, according to Rob Lorigan, a Coast Guard official.

The ship's captain then informed the Coast Guard officers on board of the discharge.

Lorigan said a laundry water holding tank onboard Rhapsody overflowed, causing the discharge.

"[We] violated the new discharge law and no one regrets that more than us," said Michael Sheehan, a Royal Caribbean spokesman. "We have taken steps that we feel are appropriate to prevent it from happening again."

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