Cruising? Think Again. - Oceana USA

Cruising? Think Again.

Statement from Jackie Savitz, Senior Scientist and Cruise Pollution Campaign Director at Oceana

Press Release Date: November 22, 2002

Location: Washington


Dustin Cranor, APR | email: | tel: 954.348.1314


According to the Associated Press, Holland America had the audacity to blame passengers-the victims-for bringing the Norwalk-like virus on its ship. This is a slap in the face to the victims, the public and the media, who are far more intelligent than they give them credit for. Holland America and most recently, the Disney Cruise Line, fail to mention that cruise ships are an ideal incubator for contagious diseases. These ships produce large amounts of sewage and other forms of waste, and in many instances, they do not even treat that waste before dumping it directly into the ocean. As a result, cruise ships release thousands of gallons of disease causing material-each day-containing numerous bacteria and viruses that can wreak havoc on people and the environment. These releases follow the ships into some of the oceans’ most unique and sensitive areas such as coral reefs, where they can sicken fish and other wildlife, which don’t have the option of just canceling their cruise.

Although cruise ships have practices and procedures to protect the health of their passengers, obviously these safeguards are not being followed properly or are ineffective. Oceana would like to ask Holland America, Disney Cruises and the others a simple question: If ships really are sanitized properly, if employees really practice good hygiene, if the food and water really are free of contaminants and harmful microorganisms and if sewage is really dealt with by the book, then how could there have been 11 outbreaks (10 Norwalk-like virus and one salmonella) affecting more than 1,350 passengers and 250 crew on five different ships in the past six months? Under these circumstances, how can we trust these same companies to keep their promises to protect the oceans.

Additional Quotes from Jackie Savitz:

Today, people are getting sick, but cruise ships dump viruses and bacteria in the ocean, every day. Besides sick passengers they can cause even sicker seas.

You say “Bon Voyage” to your loved ones at the dock. You shouldn’t have to say goodbye to good health there, too.

Cruise lines like Holland and Disney want you to think that they’re beautiful, floating cities. But there’s a difference: Cities don’t dump raw sewage, they treat it.