Caught on camera: The moment cruise ship crew member hurled garbage bags straight into the ocean off Brazilian coast in violation of international law
The Swiss-Italian cruise operator MSC Cruises has come under scrutiny after undercover videos emerged online showing what appears to be workers aboard one of its ships dumping trash into the ocean.
The liner where the footage was filmed has been identified as MSC Magnifica, which was reportedly sailing off the coast of Brazil at the time.
Jim Walker, a Miami-based maritime lawyer, broke the story on his site Cruise Law News two weeks ago, explaining that a former employee of Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) leaked the videos to him.
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Dirty secret: A maritime lawyer posted videos sent to him by a former employee of MSC Cruises showing what was described as a crew member dumping trash bags into the ocean
Candid camera: The short clips depict what appears to be a crew member aboard MSC Magnifica dressed in blue overalls hurling garbage into Brazilian waters
Luxury boat: MSC Magnifica is operated by the Swiss-Italian MSC Cruises and sails from Europe, UK and Brazil
On his site and Facebook page, the attorney explained that the black garbage bags seen in the 10-second clips being hurled overboard were likely filled with plastics, oily discharge and other materials that cruise ships are prohibited from discarding into the water under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
The MARPOL Convention was adopted in November 1973 by the international Maritime Organization (IMO) in an effort to prevent and minimize pollution from ships - both accidental pollution and that from routine operations.
According to Annex V adopted in 1988, the discharge of all garbage into the sea is prohibited. The document also imposed a ban on dumping all plastics.
However, the IMO does not have the power to punish companies the violate its laws.
Unsavory practice: The former crew member revealed that the black bags often contain large amount of plastics, oily substances and debris
Waiting for disposal: The MSC Cruises whistle-blower shared this image of wooden pellets that had been broken down to fit through the porthole
Walker's whistle-blower also provided still photographers showing the trash bags prior to their disposal and a pile of wooden pallets, which had been dismantled to fit through the portholes on a lower mooring deck.
According to the lawyer, the refuse was pitched into Brazilian waters near a marine sanctuary.
The news comes after a Brazilian media outlet reported a similar incident in December.
Following the controversy sparked by a video taken by a passenger aboard the Magnifica two months ago showing what looks like illegal dumping, MSC released a statement calling its cruise ships 'Guardians of the Seas.'
They didn't get the memo: The dumping allegedly took place even though the official International Maritime Organization MARPOL regulations prohibiting the dumping were posted on the cruise ship
Yvette Batalla, a spokesperson for MSC's U.S. office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, told Broward/Palm Beach New Times that the company is ‘aware of the videos’ and is working with Brazilian authorities to investigate the incident.
The controversy surrounding the videos comes as MSC Cruises, which mostly caters to European tourists, is preparing to expand its presence in North America
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