Cruise Ship Accidentally Discharges Gray Water at Port Canaveral

Carnival Elation at Port Canaveral (file image)

Published Jan 2, 2020 6:29 PM by The Maritime Executive

Last Thursday at Port Canaveral, while Carnival Elation was discharging water from its ballast systems which helps stabilize the ship for navigational purposes, a grey water valve failed and unintentionally discharged grey water from non-sewage waste water systems.  No sewage was discharged.

The issue was quickly addressed and resolved by shipboard personnel and all appropriate authorities were notified. 

Carnival Elation was cleared and sailed on its scheduled four-day cruise Thursday afternoon.

No cleanup is planned, and the Carnival Elation departed on schedule for her next commercial voyage. 

Gray water typically contains the combined wastewater streams from the ship's sinks, showers, laundry facilities and galleys. It is not classified as sewage, but U.S. EPA testing has determined that for certain ship types, the average contaminant concentrations in gray water may exceed the levels found in untreated domestic sewage. The EPA Vessel General Permit regulatory scheme specifies that while pierside, large cruise ships "must either discharge to appropriate reception facilities, hold graywater and discharge when the vessel is underway, or treat graywater with a device to meet discharge standards."

Carnival Corporation is currently under a five-year court-supervised probation period related to oily waste discharges from ships operated by its Princess brand. In 2016, the firm pleaded guilty to seven felony charges and paid a record $40 million fine; last year, it reached a new agreement with prosecutors to pay an additional $20 million fine for alleged probation violations.