As if there wasn’t already enough plastic in the water…
Breaking reports tell a grievous tale of corporate deception and misbehavior as state and federal officials prepare to crack down on Carnival Corporation and its subsidiary, Princess Cruise Lines.
In a MarketWatch story published yesterday morning, personal finance editor Quentin Fottrell tells the story of a $20 million fine handed down by the U.S. Department of Justice as a consequence for Carnival dumping large amounts of plastic, oil contaminated waste and other items directly into the ocean.
“The U.S. Department of Justice ordered Carnival to pay a $20 million criminal penalty for dumping plastic and other waste overboard, and said it will be subject to enhanced supervision after admitting to violations of probation attributable to senior Carnival management in a 2016 case,” Fottrell wrote.
It gets worse, because in investigating and reporting on the fine, Fottrell found that the cruise line had apparently already been on probation.
“Princess was convicted and sentenced in April 2017, after pleading guilty to felony charges stemming from its deliberate dumping of oil-contaminated waste from one of its vessels and intentional acts to cover it up,” he wrote, citing a DOJ statement.
“While serving 5 years of probation, all Carnival related cruise lines vessels eligible to trade in U.S. ports were required to comply with a court approved and supervised environmental compliance plan, including audits by an independent company and oversight by a court appointed monitor.
Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division has confirmed that Carnival has since engaged in a program of “deliberate deception.”
“A corporation is responsible to its shareholders and board of directors to be profitable, but not by breaking the law and destroying the very environment in which it navigates for profit,” said U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida.contrasting the company’s fiduciary duties to shareholders with its obligations to the planet and the public at large.
While an NPR report shows a mea culpa by Carnival CEO Arnold Donald in court, the company is perhaps unsurprisingly not inclined to speak to reporters for the record. The dumping charges speak for themselves – this type of pattern of misbehavior isn’t even ultimately very shocking to the American public anymore.
In the age of corporate campaign financing and an entrenched lobbying system, investors and traders might expect corporations to lie, steal and degrade the environment. The furor has also not been able to significantly affect the share price, though CCL stock is down a bit over the month.
Keep an eye out for unscrupulous behavior from blue chip stocks – because these companies can rarely maintain value over the long term.