(12:25 p.m. EDT) -- One possible hurdle for Carnival Corporation to resume sailing in 2020 has been cleared by a federal judge.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz had indicated she would require 60 days' notice prior to any Carnival Corporation vessel entering U.S. waters. The company is currently on probation over the illegal dumping of contaminated oil waste involving Caribbean Princess in 2016. Carnival Corporation has been in an environmental compliance program since 2017.
That ruling would have dramatically affected Carnival's attempts to restart cruising from the United States following the industry's shutdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, the judge issued an order that instead set the number of days that Carnival Corporation must submit a signed certificate of compliance before entering U.S. waters to 30 days.
Carnival Corporation stated it will comply with the order, which requires each vessel returning to U.S. waters to submit a certificate and detailed plan for installing food waste digesters onboard; replacing piping to reduce bilge water generation; procure spare parts for environmental compliance; and to ensure a full set of deck and technical staff are present onboard, among other things.
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The certificate must be signed by Carnival Corporation president and CEO Arnold Donald. It applies to Carnival Corporation's ships across all brands, including Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises.
Carnival ships due to enter U.S. waters prior to December 31, 2020 are able to provide this certification to the relevant federal authorities within seven days after the ship arrives. Vessels arriving on or after January 1, 2021 must adhere to the 30-day timeline.
"Our highest responsibility and top priorities are compliance, environmental protection and the health, safety and well-being of our guests, crew, shoreside employees, and the people and communities our ships visit," noted Carnival Corporation in a statement emailed to Cruise Critic. "We will fully comply with the order, along with all other regulatory and legal requirements."
In her ruling, Seitz indicated that, "The Court continues to recognize the significant impacts of COVID-19 on the operations and financial resources of the Defendant Princess Cruises, its parent corporation Carnival Corporation, and related corporate entities."
Yesterday's ruling is positive for cruisers as it would still allow Carnival Corporation brands to resume limited operations within the United States in December, provided the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifts its current "No-Sail" order, which is set to expire on October 31.