Holland America settles with Alaska DEC over Glacier Bay spill

The Holland America Cruise Ship Westerdam prepares to dock in Juneau July 16, 2012.
The Holland America Line cruise ship Westerdam prepares to dock in Juneau, July 16, 2012. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

Holland America Line will pay the state a $17,653 after one of its cruise ship’s holding tanks leaked graywater into Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve last year, according to the terms of a settlement released this week to CoastAlaska.

The cruise ship Westerdam was visiting the national park on Sept. 11, 2018, when a crew member mistakenly opened the wrong valve.  That’s according to the state’s notice of violation issued late last year.

An estimated 22,560 gallons overflowed into national park waters. The discharge lasted about 25 minutes and was reported to state authorities.

The settlement — signed Aug. 1 by Holland America’s attorney Kelly W. Clark — says the cruise line “does not admit to any, and hereby denies all, of the factual allegations or legal claims set forth herein.”

A spokesperson for Holland America, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, said the company didn’t have any additional comment, “other than we remain committed to environmental excellence and compliance, and protecting the environment in which we live, work and sail.”

Graywater is untreated runoff, usually from cleaning and kitchen use. It’s less hazardous than wastewater containing human waste.

Cruise ships are prohibited from discharging anything within park boundaries. The National Park Service also fined the cruise line $250 over the incident.

Glacier Bay National Park is one of the most sought-after cruise destinations, with park authorities granting limited concessions to certain cruise lines.

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