On November 26, the captain of a cruise ship was proved guilty and fined €100,000 (£88,500) for burning fuel with excessive sulphur levels in a Marseille court.
Warning to defaulters
This judgement is expected to send a warning to all defaulters and is expected to raise awareness on tackling pollution from cruise ships.
The captain was held guilty after a spot-check in March on the cruise ship ‘Azura’, operated by P&O Cruises and found it containing unauthorized bunker fuel.
The prosecutor’s alleged that the American captain, Evans Hoyt, knew the fuel was illegal as it contained 1.68% sulphur, 0.18% well above the European limit and the company was using it to save money.
The judge handed Hoyt a fine of €100,000, but specified that the parent company of P&O, the US-based Carnival, should pay €80,000 of the sum.
The prosecutor Franck Lagier told the court in October, “The company had wanted to save money at the expense of everyone’s lungs”.
A recent report in the journal Nature attributed 400,000 premature deaths and 14m cases of childhood asthma a year to emissions from dirty shipping fuel. High-sulphur fuel, which is cheaper than cleaner versions, produces sulphur oxides that contribute to acid rain and the acidification of oceans.
Cruise company to raise an appeal
A spokesman for Carnival said: “The Carnival group carries over 12 million guests on its vessels each year and takes its legal and moral obligations towards the protection of the environment very seriously indeed. We were therefore very disappointed to be prosecuted for this offense, which was based on a European law the French environment ministry had explicitly informed the cruise industry would not be applied to cruise ships and which, in any event, has still not been properly implemented. The captain was using the fuel in good faith, as directed by us, based on our understanding of the law. We have lodged an appeal and will consider the full decision of the court once it is available”.
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Source: The Guardian