FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ENR

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1998

(202) 514-2

ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINES INDICTED FOR LYING TO

THE COAST GUARD ABOUT OIL DUMPING

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., one of the world's largest cruise lines, was indicted today by a federal grand jury in Miami, for presenting false statements to the United States Coast Guard during a pollution investigation of the Nordic Empress cruise ship, the Justice Department announced. According to the indictment, on February 1, 1993, a Coast Guard aircraft equipped with Forward Looking Infra-red Radar (FLIR) observed and filmed a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Nordic Empress, discharging pollutants on a return voyage to its home port of Miami. Forward Looking Infra-red Radar is an all-weather, day or night, video detection system best known for its use by the United States military's top line fighter aircraft and bombers, which allows them to observe and strike targets with great precision. When the ship arrived at port in Miami, later in the day, the Coast Guard boarded it to investigate the pollution discharges its aircraft had observed. As part of its investigation the Coast Guard was presented with a required log book, the Nordic Empress Oil Record Book. According to the indictment, the Nordic Empress was fitted with a bypass pipe allowing Royal Caribbean employees to discharge bilge waste from the ship without first processing the waste through the Oil Water Separator. An Oil Water Separator is a required pollution prevention device used to process bilge waste before it can be discharged overboard. Royal Caribbean is charged with knowing that the Oil Record Book contained falsified information because, even though the ship is equipped with a device that bypasses the Oil Water Separator, it claimed that all of its discharges were made through the separator. "Making false statements to federal agencies and using falsified documents undermines environmental protection," said Lois Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "Lying to federal agencies charged with helping to protect the environment is a serious crime, and will be prosecuted. Had the Coast Guard known the truth about Royal Caribbean's equipment that bypasses required pollution controls, it could have taken action to protect our waters." Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, which is incorporated in Liberia and headquartered in Miami, operates more than 9 cruise ships with over 130 ports of call on five continents. Major U.S. ports include New York, Miami, San Juan, St. Thomas, Los Angeles,

and Juneau. The case is being investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigative Division, the U. S. Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Service, and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Watts-FitzGerald and by Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Trial Attorney Richard A. Udell. An indictment represents charges brought by a federal grand jury and is not itself evidence. The government has the burden of proving the charges at trial beyond a reasonable doubt. The government's investigation is continuing. ### 98-074