I am writing regarding your article posted on the Florida Sportsman Online titled “Time to Clean Up Cruise Ship Pollution”

The members of the International Council of Cruise Lines are dedicated to preserving the marine environment and the oceans upon which our vessels sail. The environmental standards that apply to our industry are both stringent and comprehensive.

Writer David Conway asserts that cruise lines operate beyond the law, but nothing could be further from the truth. Through the International Maritime Organization, the United States and other nations have developed standards that apply to all vessels engaged in international commerce. These standards are set forth in the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, or MARPOL. In addition, the United States has jurisdiction over vessels operating in U.S. waters where U.S. laws, such as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act apply to all cruise ships.

In June 2001, the members of the International Council of Cruise Lines unanimously adopted environmental standards for all of their cruise ships, which accounts for 90 percent of the North American cruise industry. Those standards are based on principles that include designing and constructing environmentally friendly cruise ships, embracing new technology, complying with international and U.S. environmental laws, reducing waste and working with the regulatory community.

Each ICCL member line has integrated these industry standards into its Safety Management System (SMS), which ensures compliance through internal and third-party audits. Failure to comply with SMS procedures could prevent a ship from operating from U.S. ports.

Regarding waste water treatments, science panel named by OCTA in March has as its highest priority the study of AWPs for the purpose of establishing standards and assessing their effectiveness. While Mr. Conway characterizes cruise lines as unwilling to “clean up their act,” the truth is that the industry has spent and is spending millions of dollars to develop wastewater treatment systems that are effective, reliable and economical to install and operate.

Mr. Conway ends his article with a rhetorical question that begs an answer: “So why wouldn’t companies voluntarily install those systems to protect the number one asset they sell to their customers — the beauty of the seas?”

The simple answer is, they will and they are installing those systems. The cruise industry recognizes the value of having a clean, healthy marine environment, both from a business standpoint and for the quality of all life on earth. The industry also recognizes its own role as an environmental steward for the oceans, and is working hard to meet those responsibilities.

–Michael Crye


International Council of Cruise Lines

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