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Carnival to pay $20M fine for continuing to pollute oceans

Leisure travel company Carnival Corp. has agreed to pay a $20 million fine for continuing to pollute the oceans despite a 2016 criminal conviction that was supposed to prevent it from repeating the same offense, the Associated Press reported June 3.

Carnival was put on a five-year probation and ordered to pay a $40 million fine in 2016 for discharging oily waste from its Princess Cruise Lines vessels and covering it up, according to the report.

Based on the latest report, Carnival CEO Arnold Donald pleaded guilty on behalf of the company and acknowledged that its cruise ships have committed environmental crimes, such as throwing "gray water" in prohibited places and knowingly disposing plastic and food waste in the Bahamas, thereby endangering marine life, in the years since the 2016 conviction.

The company also admitted to forging compliance documents and other administrative violations such as cleaning the ships ahead of scheduled inspections, the report said.

As part of the settlement, Carnival reportedly pledged to conduct more audits to check for violations, restructure the company's compliance and training programs, work on its system for reporting environmental violations to state and federal bodies, and improve its waste management practices.

The agreement also set deadlines of Sept. 13 and Oct. 9 for Carnival to draft an improved compliance plan and carry out other changes, subject to fines of up to $1 million per day if the deadlines are not met. The fines could reach up to $10 million per day if the second round of deadlines is not met, the report said.

In addition, Carnival is also expected to cut its use of single-use plastic items on all its ships and create teams that will improve the ships' food and beverage systems and the handling of waste at sea, the news agency reported.

Carnival did not immediately respond to requests for comment from S&P Global Market Intelligence.