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Princess Cruises’ ‘magic pipe’: a warning for the cruise industry

Mon 05 Jun 2017 by Rebecca Moore

Princess Cruises’ ‘magic pipe’: a warning for the cruise industry

Princess Cruises’ US$40 million penalty for illegally dumping oil waste could lead to fines for other cruise operators – while training is key to stamping out such activity

Magic pipes hit the headlines when Princess Cruises was sentenced to pay a 40 million us dollar penalty related to illegal dumping overboard of oil-contaminated waste and falsification of official logs to conceal the discharges.

The US Department of Justice said that this is the “largest-ever fine for crimes involving deliberate vessel pollution”.

The size of this fine and the publicity awarded to this case can only be a good thing, surely acting as a deterrent. There have in the past been fines for disposing of oily waste through magic pipes but they are nothing like that given to Princess Cruises. One of the first times that the use of a pipe came into the limelight involved a penalty of $10.5 million US dollars.

This incident flags up the importance of training, highlighting the importance of focusing on a seriousness and awareness about environmental issues and on MARPOL training, which dictates that discharging of oil to the sea is a criminal offence.

Princess Cruises says it has increased the scope and frequency of its training.

The incident also highlights the importance of having the most up to date equipment, and due to the investigation.

There are many reasons that ship operators have used magic pipes, one of them is that the oily water separator needs maintenance or is malfunctioning. The increased use of data for condition based monitoring and maintenance, such as DNV GL’s Veracity platform, could help here.

This incident is a warning about whether such fines and being convicted of illegal activity could spread to other areas, such as the 2020 global sulphur cap non-compliance.

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