Norwegian Cruise Lines deflects complaint queries

Niumalu residents aired complaints during a community meeting with Norwegian Cruise Lines America and Hawai‘i Department of Health officials Saturday aboard the “Pride of Hawaii.”

“The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the community’s recent complaints concerning sewage odor in Nawiliwili harbor. As a result of this community dialogue, NCLA has revised its waste handling practices and believes the matter has been resolved,” NCLA Director of Community Relations, Denise Hayashi, said in a statement.

Repeated attempts to confirm how NCLA revised its waste handling practices, learn the specifics on the residents’ complaints and discuss the Department of Health’s investigation into the matter were unsuccessful.

NCLA denied The Garden Island access to the meeting.

The Department of Health’s Rod Yama said he could not answer questions Friday and referred any queries to NCLA.

Residents in the Nawiliwili area have reportedly been working with NCLA and the state health department regarding cruise ship bunker smoke emissions for over a year, according to a May 22 letter to the editor.

Lihu‘e resident Gary Craft, in the letter, has called for an environmental impact statement, alerting readers to the “major health problems” bunker smoke can cause.

The Garden Island could not confirm at press time if fuel emissions and diesel alternatives were discussed during the recent community meeting as a series of calls and e-mails over three days to the Department of Health and NCLA’s Hiyashi were not returned.

“NCLA remains committed to working in cooperation with the Department of Health on an ongoing basis to address any community concerns,” Hiyashi states in the four sentence statement released Saturday.

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