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January 1999 Vol. 14, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Is This Corporate Doublespeak?

from the January, 1999 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

On October 1, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., through its Ocean Fund, awarded $537,000 in ten grants to marine conservation organizations, bringing the total of its awards to $1,382,000. Among the benefactors were the University of Florida’s Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research, the Caribbean Marine Research Center, the Center for Marine Conservation, Florida’s Reef Relief, and many other groups.

“The potential impact of projects supported by The Ocean Fund is truly remarkable,” said chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain. “There are so many dimensions to marine conservation and the protection of our oceans, and we are pleased to become a partner with experts in research and education.”

Two weeks after the grants, the Justice Department announced that Royal Caribbean Cruises had been fined $8 million for dumping oil and lying about it to the Coast Guard. A “before and after” video was taken in October, 1994, during initial Coast Guard boardings in San Juan after a Coast Guard ship observed the dumping and during a follow-up boarding in Miami. The company has agreed to pay an additional $1 million for environmental projects in U.S. territorial waters off Puerto Rico and Miami.

In September, Royal Caribbean was sentenced to pay a $1 million fine for presenting a false oil record book for the ship Nordic Empress after the Coast Guard observed the vessel leaving a 7-mile oil slick off the coast of Florida.

As Chairman Fain said, impact of projects supported by the Ocean Fund is “truly remarkable,” and one of the most remarkable effects of the fund may be its ability to make big-time polluters look like big-time environmentalists.

Had all the recipients of the awards joined to tell Royal Caribbean to bugger off and keep its money, it might have embarrassed them into more corporate environmental responsibility than a piddling half million spent cleaning up after them.

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