USCG Recognizes Celebrity For Environmental Excellence

Thursday, June 20, 2002
The United States Coast Guard has recognized Celebrity Cruises for its superior environmental operations by awarding the cruise line its 2002 William M. Benkert Award For Environmental Excellence. Celebrity was the only cruise line recognized by the Coast Guard in the biennial presentation of its premier national award that recognizes marine environmental excellence. The award was established to recognize vessel and facility operators who have displayed marine environmental excellence through programs that exceed mere compliance with industrial and regulatory standards. The awardees are selected after a competitive evaluation process involving rigorous standards.

"I could not be more proud of this accomplishment," said Jack Williams, president and chief operating officer of Celebrity Cruises. "We take our environmental stewardship of the seas very seriously, and we value this award so highly because it is presented by the Coast Guard, which oversees our activities on a daily basis. I congratulate and thank all of our employees for their ongoing dedication to our exceptional environmental practices." The Coast Guard selected companies in Texas, Kentucky, Washington, Louisiana, New Jersey, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Alaska to receive the eight Benkert Awards presented this year. Of the eight award winners, only two companies ranked higher than Celebrity Cruises.

Celebrity was honored for a variety of accomplishments, including: Being the first cruise line in the world to use gas-turbine powered cruise ships. The company's four ships with smokeless, gas-turbine propulsions systems have dramatically reduced exhaust emissions, by more than 90 percent. Obtaining the International Standards Organization's ISO 14001 certification for fleet-wide environmental management systems. Having the first vessels to receive Lloyd's Register Environmental Protection Certification, recognizing the company's commitment to strict environmental compliance. The installation of more than $3 million worth of state-of-the-art gray water and black water treatment systems onboard Mercury and Galaxy. The units use a reverse osmosis process (like that used to make bottled water) to clean gray water and black water so effectively that they meet the most stringent discharge standards, including those in Alaska. Investing more than $10 million to improve engine efficiency, reduce nitrous oxide and sulfur oxide emissions, and reduce visible smoke emissions from its Century-class ships Implementing a comprehensive environmental protection program throughout its fleet, known as Save the Waves, that focuses on three principles: to reduce the creation or generation of waste materials; to recycle as much as possible; and to ensure proper disposal of remaining wastes. Creating the fleet-wide position of Environmental Officer, and establishing specific training programs for that position, to provide daily, onboard oversight of the proper implementation of the company's environmental policies and procedures. The fleet-wide installations of closed loop Perchloroethylene (Perc) filling systems for use with dry cleaning machinery, and the fleet-wide installation of filtration systems for Perc condensate that filters dry cleaning chemicals to a level low enough to allow non-hazardous waste disposal onshore. Creating an energy conservation and crew training program that resulted in a 5.5 percent reduction in fuel consumption and cost savings of $14 million. Contributing more that $4.9 million, through the company's Ocean Fund, to 34 organizations working to preserve the ecosystems of the world's oceans. Senior company executives participating as board members with groups such as The National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservatory, and the World Wildlife Federation.

In announcing the award recipients the Coast Guard noted that the overall level of environmental excellence reflected by the programs and accomplishments in all this year's award applications demonstrated that companies are continuing to make environmental stewardship an integral part of their business practices. The Coast Guard will present the Benkert Awards on June 24, in La Jolla, Calif. The award competition is comprised of six award categories: large and small business vessel operators, large and small business marine facility operators, foreign vessel operators, and small business operators. Applicants were evaluated on their environmental objectives and policies, pollution prevention and safety quality management, environmental outreach efforts, participation in partnerships with environmental organizations and government agencies, and performance measures and results.

The award is named in honor of Rear Admiral William M. Benkert (1923-1989), a distinguished Coast Guard officer widely known for his leadership and vision in marine environmental excellence.

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