Court rejects Alaskans’ appeal in Carnival pollution case

The Carnival Miracle arriving in Juneau in 2013.
The Carnival Miracle arriving in Juneau in 2013. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

Three Alaskans have been denied an appeal alleging harm from Carnival Corporation’s cruise ship pollution.

If successful, the appeal could have effectively delayed the cruise giant’s recent settlement for multiple violations of its felony probation.

The Alaskans were part of a petition to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta seeking recognition under the federal Crime Victims Rights Act for the cruise line’s unlawful dumping of plastics, grey water and other prohibited materials in Alaska and elsewhere.

Carnival executives admitted in court to the company’s wrongdoing this month. As part of a new settlement, they agreed to pay $20 million in addition to the $40 million fine levied in 2016 for similar violations.

District Court Judge Patricia A. Seitz approved the deal with prosecutors. She explained in court papers that the harm claimed by the three Alaskans and one Bahamian were general in nature and could’ve applied broadly to others in the region.

“Therefore, even though the court sympathizes with their frustration, fervor, and their outrage,” she wrote, “the proposed intervenors are not ‘victims’ as that term is defined by the (Crime Victims’ Rights Act).”

The three-judge appellate court panel agreed and ordered the case closed.

The Miami-based cruise corporation operates nine brands including Holland America Line and Princess Cruises. It has defended its record but also pledged to consolidate its environmental oversight by hiring a chief compliance officer to oversee its entire fleet.

Jacob Resneck, CoastAlaska

Jacob Resneck is CoastAlaska's regional news director based in Juneau. CoastAlaska is our partner in Southeast Alaska. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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