Massachusetts town suggests sewage on beach came from cruise ship

Story highlights

  • Room tag, other debris washed ashore on Saturday
  • Town official speculates it came from a Holland America ship
  • Cruise line doesn't think it came from its ship, but will investigate
A room tag from a cruise ship and sewage that washed ashore in Lynn, Massachusetts, over the weekend has led town officials to suggest it may have come from a Holland America ship.
The room tag from the ms Maasdam was found Saturday amid debris including rubber gloves, dental floss, contraceptives, personal hygiene items and a urinal cake, according to The Daily Item, a local newspaper in the town located about 15 miles from Boston.
A Lynn official told The Daily Item the sewage appeared to be similar to what is released from a ship's waste holding tank, but the official doesn't accuse the company of intentional dumping.
Holland America told CNN it doesn't think the debris came from its ship, but the cruise company intends to investigate the incident to make certain.
"Holland America Line demonstrates its commitment to responsible environmental practices through a comprehensive fleetwide program," Holland America Line spokesman Erik Elvejord told CNN. Elvejord added the company is in compliance with all international and environmental guidelines.
The ms Maasdam, a nearly 20 year-old ship that carries 1,838 passengers and crew, is currently on a 17-day European and transAtlantic cruise and departed Amsterdam on August 1. According to Elvejord, the ship was last in waters near the coast of Massachusetts on July 14 when it was heading for Europe.
In 1998, Holland America pleaded guilty to felony charges and was placed on probation for five years, after one of its ships dumped an oily mixture from the ship's bilges off the Alaskan coast. As part of the guilty plea, the company agreed to a $2 million fine.
Holland America Line's Ryndam was found responsible for discharging sewage sludge into Juneau Harbor in 2002, and the company was fined $2 million by the federal government in that incident as well.