MIAMI -- Cruise lines that illegally dump bilge water into the
ocean or falsify environmental records can face itinerary problems
in Alaska, specifically in Glacier Bay, one of the state's top
Royal Caribbean International currently is prohibited from
sailing in Glacier Bay, and Carnival Cruise Lines is barred from
renewing its Glacier Bay cruising permit as a result of offenses
related to environmental crimes.
Norwegian Cruise Line also could be federally debarred as a
result of pleading guilty in July for failing to keep an accurate
oil record book on the Norway.
According to Bob Meunier, the Environmental Protection Agency's
debarring official, a debarment prohibits companies from doing
business with any federal agency or from receiving government
benefits, such as receiving or renewing Glacier Bay permits.
The permits are controlled by the National Park Service.
However, it is Meunier who decides if a company should be debarred,
and if so, for what length of time. Generally, he said, a debarment
lasts for about three years.
NCL, which is scheduled to have three ships visiting Glacier Bay
next summer, said it took prompt action when the problems on the
Norway surfaced three years ago and cooperated with the govern-ment
during the investigation, something that Meunier said could favor a
limited ban or none at all.
"Where [a company] has done things to isolate the risk and
correct it, I consider those things," he said. "Yes, [NCL's failure
to keep an accurate oil record book is] a debarrable offense, but
... that's a judgment call that the debarring official makes."
Meunier said he had not yet received any paperwork on NCL.
Royal Caribbean International was debarred from April 1999
through April 2004, the National Park Service said. Royal Caribbean
ships currently visit Hubbard Glacier, another well-known
attraction in Alaska. The line declined to comment.
In 1999, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. agreed to pay a record $18
million fine for dumping oil-contaminated waste and other hazardous
Carnival Cruise Lines in June was debarred from renewing its
license for three years after parent company Carnival Corp. pleaded
guilty to falsifying federal records about oil dumping. Their
current license expires at the end of 2004, and the line continues
to visit Glacier Bay.
Meunier said a debarment could be shortened; the company can
petition for reinstatement, and a Carnival spokesman said the
cruise line is working to demonstrate "satisfactory" environmental
In both the Royal Caribbean and Carnival debarments, neither
lines' sister brands, Celebrity Cruises and Holland America Line,
respectively, were affected.