The Criminal Court of Marseille fined the captain of the cruise ship Azura and its owner Carnival Corporation & plc EUR 100,000 (around USD 113,900) for polluting the air by using fuel with higher contents of sulphur than permitted.
During an inspection of the ship in the port of Marseille, in March this year, relevant authorities discovered that the vessel was burning bunker fuel containing 1.68 percent sulphur, therefore breaking the 1.5 percent limit.
This is the first time a French court sentenced the captain of a ship for such a breach, France Nature Environment, the French federation of associations for the protection of nature and the environment, who was the plaintiff in the case said.
The court allocated the federation, Surfrider Foundation and the League for the Protection of Birds EUR 5,000 respectively for damages,
French prosecutor Franck Lagier alleged that Carnival “wanted to save money at the expense of everyone’s lungs, in the context of major air pollution, caused partly by cruise ships.”
However, lawyers for Carnival reportedly argued that the strictest laws on pollution do not apply to the Azura as these are reserved for passenger ships using a regular route, according to AFP.
Carnival Corporation said it was disappointing by the verdict and that it plans to contest it.