The cruise ship Caribbean Princess sits anchored in Frenchman Bay off downtown Bar Harbor in this 2008 file photo. The ship is among several owned by Carnival Corp. that are expected to visit Bar Harbor and Portland this summer. This week, Carnival was ordered in federal court to pay a $20 million penalty for continuing to repeatedly break environmental laws, despite having been fined $40 million two years ago for prior pollution dumping violations. Credit: Bill Trotter | BDN

Carnival Corp., which owns several cruise ships that visit Maine each summer, has agreed to pay a $20 million penalty for continuing to pollute the ocean despite a 2016 conviction for violating federal environmental laws, according to a report by the Associated Press.

In 2017, Florida-based Carnival was fined $40 million after one of its ships, the Caribbean Princess, was determined by federal regulators to have been “making illegal discharges since 2005 using bypass equipment — including a so-called ‘magic pipe’ — to circumvent pollution-prevention equipment that separates oil and monitors oil levels in the ship’s water,” Reuters reported at the time.

Four other princess ships also were found by federal officials to have “engaged in illegal practices to discharge waste,” according to the New York Times.

Carnival was placed on five years probation but continued to dump pollution directly into the ocean, according to a statement released Monday by the U.S. Justice department.

Carnival has admitted that in the past couple of years its ships have broken the law by dumping polluted “gray water” in prohibited places such Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park and knowingly discharging plastic along with food waste in the Bahamas, according to the Associated Press. The company also admitted falsifying compliance documents and other administrative violations such as having cleanup teams visit its ships just before scheduled inspections, AP reported.

In addition to its line of Carnival-named ships and the Princess line, Carnival Corp. also owns the AIDA, Holland America, Cunard, and P&O cruise brands. Ships that sail under those names are scheduled to make more than 70 visits to Maine this year, with 58 scheduled for Bar Harbor and 13 for Portland. The Caribbean Princess — which used the “magic pipe” to dump untreated pollution into the ocean — is scheduled to make seven visits to Bar Harbor this summer and one to Portland, on Aug. 16.

None of the ships are alleged to have dumped pollution into the ocean off the coast of Maine.

Bill Trotter

Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....