A major cruise line

Navigating a Department of Justice Investigation


Argyle’s Robert Gemmill represented a large player in the US domestic cruise line industry. The client was accused of violating maritime pollution laws and was eventually sentenced to one of the largest-ever criminal penalties in the industry. Our experts were brought in while this matter was still in the early investigative stage, and remained involved for more than two years, through court action and sentencing.


The team worked closely with outside counsel, general counsel, and with executives from the client and its parent company, to come up with a communications strategy that was deeply and authentically contrite, clear about the facts, and responsible in outlining the company’s remedies and its action plan. The various scenarios from the investigation included a full-blown trial, settlement, leak of the investigation, internal discord, and customer and activist considerations – all on a global scale. Robert led the communications strategy for more than a year, making sure the client’s messaging was precise and the team ready to execute the appropriate protocols in any scenario.


When the news of the penalty hit, media coverage was accurate, and did not twist technical facts to paint a more negative picture of the client. This set the tone for further, fair coverage, allowing the client to emerge with its strong reputation intact and a solid foundation for future business.
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