May 8, 2003
In an unfortunate accident, NCL's Norwegian Sun discharged "black water" --
approximately 40 tons of raw sewage, according to media reports -- four
miles off the coast of Canada's British Columbia. The incident occurred
last Saturday when an engineer opened valves on tanks that he thought
contained "gray water" (the discharge from sinks and showers), not knowing
that it actually was a "black water" tank.
The captain of Norwegian Sun proactively reported the incident to the U.S.
Coast Guard. Company policy is that no dumping of "black water" can occur
within 12 miles of shore. In a statement, NCL accepts responsibility for the
accidental discharge and says: "The company is extremely disappointed over
this incident. The protection of the oceans on which NCL makes its living is
of paramount importance to the company. NCL internal policies greatly
exceed the existing laws and international conventions."
The ship was northwest of Port Townsend on its way to Seattle, where
Norwegian Sun is home-porting during its season in Alaska. State of
Washington Department of Ecology investigators have not yet determined the
extent of the damage caused by the discharge.