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May 11, 2001
USCG takes penalty action against Alaska cruise ship
The U.S.Coast Guard said yesterday that it is taking penalty action against the cruise ship Norwegian Sky for discharging treated sewage in the waters of Southeast Alaska on May 3, 2001.
This is the first penalty action taken by the agency under the Murkowski legislation (Public Law 106-554) enacted last December. The legislation closed so called donut holes in Southeast Alaskato discharge of not only untreated sewage but also treated sewage that does not meet effluent standards set by the new law.
On May 4, 2001, the Coast Guard received a report from Norwegian Cruise Lines that the Norwegian Sky had discharged treated sewage for approximately 20-30 minutes in the internal waters of Southeast Alaska on May 3, 2001.
At the time of the discharge, the vessel was en-route from Juneau to Ketchikan and was more than three miles from land and traveling at a speed of about 17 knots.
Coast Guard investigators boarded the cruise ship on May 4, 2001 while it was docked in Ketchikan in order to oversee sample collections, perform an environmental examination, and conduct an investigation into the discharge.
Effluent samples were immediately sent to an independent laboratory for analysis.
Lab results showed a level of 700,000 fecal coliform per 100 milliliters and total suspended solids of 27,000 milligrams per liter. Federal law sets effluent standards at 200 fecal coliform per 100 milliliters and 150 milligrams per liter total suspended solids.
A civil penalty case is being processed against the Norwegian Sky for violation of these standards. The maximum civil penalty is $25,000 per day for violation.
Through Sept. 30, the Coast Guard is conducting Operation Cruise Watch 2001. The operation directs Coast Guard marine inspectors as well as aircraft, station, and cutter crews to monitor cruise ship operations for compliance with federal safety and environmental laws and regulations, including the recently enacted Public Law 106-554.