Court Fines P&O Captain €100,000 for using dirty fuel

Nov 26, 2018

Today the French court imposed a €100,000 fine to the captain of a cruise ship for using fuel with high sulphur levels in the port of Marseille, the first such ruling in France.

The prosecution was intended by authorities to signal that they are serious in tackling pollution from cruise ships after they found a higher level of sulphur during a check on the vessel P&O Azura.

According to the prosecutor, the P&O captain Evans Hoyt knew that the fuel contained a high level of sulphur 1.68 percent, above the 1.5-percent European legal limit while the ship is in port or near the coastline. During the trial the prosecutor added that the company was using this type of fuel to save money. The company “wanted to save money at the expense of everyone's lungs,” said the prosecutor Franck Lagier back in October. Azura loaded 900 tons of fuel in Barcelona, before heading to Marseille and saved 21,000 euros by buying diesel fuel with a high sulfur content.

The judge handed Captain Evans Hoyt, who was not present at the court, a fine of 100,000 euros, but specified that the Cruise Company P&O, should pay 80,000 euros of the sum.

Lawyers for Carnival Corporation had argued that the strictest European pollution laws were reserved for passenger vessels using a regular route and therefore did not apply to P&O Azura.

The regulations on the amount of maximum sulfur content vary internationally. The European Union introduced new rules throughout the continent in 2015, but its application is uneven, depending on the type of vessel and European countries.