Celebrity Xpedition – On again… and now off again

First handed down a 45 day revocation of its operating permit in Galapagos on the 23rd of May, the ship, in mid-cruise at the time, was forced to stay at the Baltra island port in Galapagos when it arrived there on the 27th.   However, the company managed to be granted an appeal in the evening of the 26th, and sailed again on the 28th, the new group of passengers having had their departure delayed by a day.   However, the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS) reported on the 31st  of May that the appeal had been quashed, and that the revocation of the ship's permit was again in place, and enforced.   It seems that the passengers currently on board will once again be the last on the Xpedition for several weeks.

This situation arose after the ship was found to be carrying out-of-season lobsters in its freezers during routine inspections carried out by the GNPS, in contravention of park regulations.   The GNPS successfully argued for the full application of the law and the ship was required to pay a fine, and lost its operations permit, effectively immediately, for 45 days.

CNH Tours applauds the effective application of the law in Galapagos.   We lived and worked in the islands, during the time of the "fishing wars", where violence broke out from time to time over the government's efforts at establishing sustainable fisheries regulations.  A good deal of effort and money went into that process, obtaining information on the ecology of the fisheries, on developing relationships with the fishing community, and together, coming to agreements on regulations.   Advances made should not be lost.   The law must be applied, and more importantly, must be seen to be applied amongst local people, and fishing groups.   Even the largest, most globally connected ships must be subjected to the laws and regulations.  

CNH Tours does suggest that in the future, such infractions be sanctioned in such a way that does not affect travelers though.   Imposing large fines, in proportion to the cost of a 45 day revocation of the operations permit is an option worth considering.