Cruise Lines International Association, which represents 95% of the cruise industry, introduced mandatory requirements to be able to set sail again. USA TODAY


Cruise giant Carnival Corp. is facing an extra step as the cruise company undergoes the process of returning its cruise ships to sea after more than seven months of a parent company of flagship Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line, among others. Two of its cruise lines, AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises, are currently sailing in Europe.

The criteria each ship must meet is listed as follows in the order:

  1. Pollution prevention equipment
    • Shipboard and shoreside preparations for carrying out the commitment to install food waste digesters on ships within 60 days of return to service.
    • Installing the full set of food waste digesters per a January plan and court submission.
    • Identifying and assessing repairs needed to improve reliable operation of pollution prevention equipment and proposing schedules for completion of work, as well as completing repairs based on identified repair needs.
    • Completing all significant repairs to pollution prevention equipment.
    • Completing advanced air quality system leak repairs.
    • Repairing/replacing regular leaking piping/components to reduce the volume of bilge water generated and repairing major pipe system changes.
  2. Spare parts
    • Providing a full set of critical environmental spare parts for pollution prevention equipment.
  3. Staffing
    • Ensuring a full deck crew and technical teams are in place before returning to service.
    • Ensuring a designated engineer for advanced air quality systems is on board equipped ships before returning to service. 
  4. IT support and voyage planning
    • Developing and implementing the new voyage and environmental planning software tool.
  5. Waste offload support
    • Assessing each waste vendor in accordance with the company’s internal procedure that the vessel returning to U.S. waters intends to use to dispose of waste during its planned itinerary, and, if feasible, conducting site visits. 

If for some reason Carnival Corp. is unable to fulfill one of the requirements, the certification must include a "detailed explanation, including a specific plan (including any alternative plan to achieve the same ends of the incomplete task) and timeframe for addressing the item," according to the order.

"Our highest responsibility and top priorities are compliance, environmental protection and the health, safety and well-being of our guests, crew, shoreside employees, and the people and communities our ships visit," Frizzell added.

Beyond its probation for environmental offenses in past years, all eight of the company's cruise lines received failing marks on an environmental report card released last month by Friends of the Earth. 

Frizzell told USA TODAY at the time that Carnival Corp. does not believe the report is credible and that it doesn't "adequately reflect" the improvements that the cruise giant has been making. "The FOE report is not based on any measure of true research or scientific rigor to inform the public, but it is nothing more than a publicity stunt by FOE to help attract potential donors."

Marcie Keever, the oceans and vessels program director for Friends of the Earth, told USA TODAY that the organization is disappointed that the court didn't choose to require Carnival Corp. to obtain approval 60 days ahead of its operational restart, but it's a step in the right direction.

"The court's order will help shed light on these violating cruise ships and work to get them back into environmental compliance," she said.

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