Tourism & Cruises

Federal judge orders top Carnival executives — including chairman Arison — to court

A federal judge ordered top Carnival Corporation executives, including chairman Micky Arison and president Arnold Donald, to appear in court on June 3.

The Miami-based cruise company, the largest in the world, is charged with violating its probation. Federal prosecutors announced last week that they had reached a deal with Carnival Corp. on the charges, which include dumping plastic into Bahamian waters and falsifying records. At the June 3 hearing, Judge Patricia Seitz will review the deal, and she wants Carnival Corp.’s C-suite to be there.

The probation violations stem from Carnival Corp.’s 2016 conviction for environmental crimes on its Princess Cruises ships. The company paid $40 million as part of its guilty plea and began its five-year probation in April 2017. It was Carnival Corp.’s third conviction for the same crime of dumping oily waste into the ocean since 1998.

Earlier this year, the government charged Carnival Corp. with six probation violations: falsifying records, communicating with the U.S. Coast Guard through a back channel, failing to give enough authority to the company’s environmental compliance officer, improperly preparing ships ahead of visits by a court-appointed monitor, and dumping plastic into Bahamian waters. Details about the sixth incident have not been disclosed.

At a hearing in April to discuss the violations, Seitz threatened to temporarily ban Carnival Corp.’s 105 ships from docking at U.S. ports as punishment, and lamented not being able to put the company’s executives in jail. Since then, Carnival Corp. has hired a new Miami-based attorney, David Oscar Markus.

A previously confidential report by the court-appointed monitor showed that although the company invested in more environmental compliance training and was generally cooperative, it repeatedly violated environmental laws during its first year of probation. Seitz made the report public in April. Shortly after, the Bahamian government announced it would investigate Carnival Corp.’s discharge of nearly half a million gallons of treated sewage into its waters during that first year.

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Taylor Dolven covers the tourism industry at the Miami Herald, where she aims to tell stories about the people who work in tourism and the people who enjoy it. Previously, she worked at Vice News in Brooklyn, NY, where she won a Front Page Award from the Newswomen’s Club of NY for a national investigation of police shootings.