French court charges U.S. master and Carnival with sulfur violation

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Evans Hoyt

OCTOBER 9, 2018 – A French prosecutor yesterday asked a court in Marseille to impose a fine of EUR 100,000 (about $115,000) on Carnival Corporation and on Evans Hoyt , the American master of Carnival subsidiary P&O Cruises’ cruise ship Azura, for burning fuel above the EU 1.5% sulfur limit.

The charges follow a March 29 port state control inspection of the Azura in Marseille when sampling indicated that the cruise ship was using fuel with a sulfur content of 1.68 percent.

Under the EU Sulfur Directive, “passenger ships operating on regular services to or from any EU port shall not use marine fuels if their sulfur content exceeds 1.50 % in sea areas outside the SECAs.”

According to media reports, Captain Hoyt’s lawyer, Bertrand Coste contended that European environment rules unfairly distinguished between cruise ship limits and those for cargo vessels, meaning that there was a lack of “equality before the law.”

He also argued that, as a cruise ship, the Azura was not operating on a regular service to or from Marseilles.

“The cruise market is booming, especially in the Mediterranean, generating increasingly significant nuisances,” said the prosecutor. “Respect for international, European and internal standards is all the more imperative”.

The court reserved its judgement until November 26.

Captain Hoyt, a U.S. Merchant Marine Academy graduate, has a seagoing career dating back to 1990. He joined Carnival U.K. as a Master in June 2016 after a 10 year career as a Master with Norwegian Cruise Line.

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