I find myself today in uncharted waters and scarily agreeing with Mr Jim Walker from Cruise Law News regarding the recent accusations of rubbish dumping at sea by MSC in Brazil.
It was reported by a Brazilian News Program in December that a passenger had caught crew members disposing of rubbish bags over the side of the MSC ship and had video proof. Indeed the video does show black bags being throw over board and dumped in the sea.
Regulations regarding the dumping of rubbish is very strict and supposedly regulated by The International Maritime Organisation (IMO). IMO states that ships cannot dump unprocessed food or other items within three miles of the closest shore. The ships crew must separate, process, grind, crush and/or incinerate the ships refuse, paper items and/or additional rubbish and then discharge at various distances from shore or store the pulverised/incinerated materials for pick up at port after the cruise is over.
Certainly when I worked at sea in the 1990’s I was used to the daily grind of separating combustibles, food, plastics and aluminium. In fact I once got into trouble for putting a plastic cocktail stick with a cherry on in the food bin!
What remains to be assessed is was this company procedure or was it one crew member taking the easy way out? Or as an advocate of the cruise industry was it perfectly legal and were the bags bio-degradable with items that are allowed to be disposed of at sea. Either way MSC needs to be accountable for the actions of its crew members and it will be interesting to see the outcome of their current investigation.