Sunday, July 28, 2019

Carnival Cruise Pollution Violations


Fabricated logs, extensive research of contaminated water, numerous laws violated, and recent lawsuits surround these prestige floating vacations. As cruise ships capacity increase from nearly 5,000 passengers and staff, to 7,000 passengers and staff the concern of ocean sanitation increases. Usually coastal countries are responsible for the oceans pollution; however, these polluting vessels distribute waste to the most discrete and pristine locations that would not normally receive pollution (Earth, n.d.)
Carnival Cruise’s actions have become a nightmare and are consequently questioned. Ariana Fajardo Orshan, United States attorney for the Southern District of Florida, announced in a statement “A corporation is responsible to its shareholders and board of directors to be profitable, but not by breaking the law and destroying the very environment in which it navigates for profit,” (Mervosh, 2019). Patricia A. Seitz, the federal judge overseeing numerous cases regarding Carnival Cruise, stated she is becoming frustrated with the company (Mervosh, 2019).
An ethical perspective of the case for Carnival Cruise, and their choice to deliberately pollute the ocean, would be deemed unethical without question. The waste coming off these ships contain nitrogen compounds, graywater (waste from showers, sinks, laundries and kitchens,), sewage, bilge water ( water that collects in the lowest part of the ship’s hull and may contain oil, grease and other contaminates), and solid waste such as food and garbage. (Walker, 2019) This waste is carelessly, yet fully consciously, dumped directly into the ocean polluting the water and food chain ultimately causing devastating environmental impacts.


Carnival Cruise is now the biggest stakeholder in the situation. The company has been pampered with fines that are small when compared to their annual profits. The company, along with other cruise companies, are responsible of more pollution than entire countries. Carnival Cruises actions following the most recent case should set a responsible and more ethical method of disposal for the waste accumulated on the ships. The executives, ship captains and staff are all going to have to implement changes into their operations to ensure they meet the court’s ruling. They are responsible firsthand for how the waste will be disposed and will have the option to take the correct course of action. The judges and legal professionals involved are also stakeholders to the pollution and must enforce the ruling.

Analysis of the situation under the Individualism theory of ethics renders this entire situation completely unethical. The Individualism ethical theory or economic model is the most business orientated model due to its base on economic views. The most important ethical rule in the theory of individualism is that “Business actions should maximize profits for the owners of a business but do so within the law.” (Salazar) and Carnival Cruise broke many laws for years by completely ignoring rules and regulations.

Examination of the case with the principals of the Utilitarianism ethical theory would further conclude that Carnival Cruise’s choice to dispose the waste directly into the ocean and violate regulations and law would be deemed unethical. The Utilitarianism ethical theory values “Happiness of all conscious beings, often interpreted hedonistically as pleasure and the absence of pain, but also sometimes interpreted as the satisfaction of desires” (Salazar) following the rule to maximize happiness for all conscious beings.

A thorough assessment of the case applying the Kantianism theory reveals more unethical behavior. One of the primary values of the ethical theory promotes honesty. The Kantianism ethical theory promotes the adoption of the “respect and honor individuals and their choices. Don’t lie, cheat, manipulate or harm others to get your way. Rather, use informed and rational consent from all parties.” (Salazar). Carnival Cruise manipulated the courts lenient fines, that barely scraped their annual profits, to evade further prosecution and executive imprisonment. By paying the fines they were able continue operations and brush off the situations and a small loss.

Promotion of wellness or the flourishing of individuals within society are primary values in the Virtue ethical theory. The Virtue theory specifics the importance of good character, asking to “Act so as to embody a variety of virtuous or good character traits and so as to avoid vicious or bad character traits.” (Salazar). In many situations Carnival Cruise had the chance to adopt new methods of operation especially during their probation period. The company acted against the Virtue theory’s rule recommending the circumvention of vicious or poor character traits that are deemed to be unethical. Unfortunately, Carnival Cruise focused on profits of virtue to operate their company. Carnival Cruise also chose to implicate bad character traits by cheating the system and using the “magic pipe” to dispose of their waste.

In conclusion the actions, disregard for the law, and careless destruction of the delicate marine ecosystems result in Carnival Cruise acting in undoubtedly unethical behavior. An accumulation of broken laws, corrupted operational methods of disposal, and lack of concern for the environment render the company unethical in all perspectives of ethical theories. Carnival Cruise repeatedly ignored the law and abused the fines they were given despite multiple trials and chances to reform or recreate their waste disposal process. Even with governmental guidance from the EPA with alternatives and new suggested methods of disposal the company decided to continue their ethical behavior. As a result, Carnival Cruise displays their lack of concern for the environment, government and laws, and ethical behavior to achieve a greater profit.

Maxwell E. Godlew



AP, L. J. (2015, February 13). China produces about a third of plastic waste polluting the world’s oceans, says report. Retrieved from South China Morning Post:
Blackstone, J. (2015, February 13). U.S. polluting ocean with trash at alarming rate. Retrieved from CBS evening News:
Cruise Ship Discharges and Studies. (2000-2008). Retrieved from EPA:
Earth, F. o. (n.d.). EPA Report Details Cruise Ship Pollution. Retrieved from Friends Of the Earth :
Joseph DesJardins. (2014). An Introduction to Business Ethics. In J. DesJardins, Business Ethics. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Mervosh, S. (2019, June 5). Carnival Cruises to Pay $20 Million in Pollution and Cover-Up Case. Retrieved from The New York Times: Business:
Press, A. (2019, June 4). Carnival pleads guilty to pollution, probation violations; cruise line fined $20M. Retrieved from USA Today:
Salazr, D. H. (n.d.). The Business Ethics Case Manual: The Authoritative Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding and Improving the Ethics of Any Business.
Smith, O. ( 2017, January 2). Mapped: The Worlds most polluted Countries. Retrieved from The Telegraph:
Walker, J. (2019, June 19). Carnival Pollution Case: Why No Prosecution of the Engineers on the Caribbean Princess, Star Princess, Grand Princess, Coral Princess and Golden Princess? Retrieved from Jim Walkers Cruise Time News:

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