Back in 2004, a paint inspector found black residue inside the drinking water tanks  on two cruise ships operated by Norwegian Cruise Line, the Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Star. He believed that the residue was the result of the paint on the potable water tank leaching a chemical called acrylonitrile into the water. This chemical is believed to be a carcinogen.

The inspector informed the manufacture of the paint, as well as his employer, about the residue. In response, he was fired. Further, the paint manufacturer also got an injunction that prevented the inspector from speaking about problems with the paint.

When Norwegian Cruise Line was alerted about the problem, the company assured passengers that the situation had been completely mediated. That same year, the company was also alerted that two of its other vessels, the Radiance of the Seas and the Brilliance of the Seas, also had the same paint in its potable drinking water tanks, and therefore, could suffer from the same problem. Norwegian Cruise Line inspected those tanks, and the coating was replaced.

At the time, the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention and the Florida Poison Information Center confirmed that the potable drinking water on the cruise vessels was not a risk to consumers.

Do cruise passengers today have to worry about chemical contamination of the water that they drink on a cruise vessel? No, say experts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines the specifications for potable drinking water on a cruise ship in its Vessel Sanitation Program.

According to some of the biggest cruise line operators, they take stringent measures to make sure that the drinking water is potable, including conducting tests for bacteria and use of additional chlorine. If you are planning a cruise vacation and have doubts about the water, check the cruise line’s inspection record on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

The maritime lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers  represent passengers who have been injured in accidents on a cruise ship.