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Princess Cruise Lines pleads guilty to probation violation

Princess Cruise Lines pleads guilty to probation violation

MIAMI (AP) — Princess Cruises pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating its probation related to previous environmental crimes.

Company officials signed a plea agreement in Miami federal court, according to court records. The company must pay a $1 million criminal fine and undertake remedial measures to ensure that it and its parent company, Carnival Corporation, establish and maintain an independent internal investigative office.

“Just like individual defendants, corporate defendants must also comply with court orders. They are not above the law," U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Juan Antonio Gonzalez said in a statement. “The corporate defendant here ignored the court, choosing instead to thwart the compliance plan that was put in place to protect our environment."

Princess was fined $40 million in 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. As part of its probation, all Carnival-related cruise ships that used U.S. ports were required to comply with a supervised environmental compliance plan. Princess was convicted of six probation violations in 2019 and fined an additional $20 million.

A joint factual basis for Wednesday's guilty plea said Princess admitted that internal investigators had not been allowed to determine the scope of their investigations, and that draft internal investigations had been impacted and delayed by management.