A WHISTLEBLOWER who raised the alarm over a cruise operator illegally pumping gallons of waste into the sea has been awarded £1 million.

Princess Cruise Lines – whose European HQ is in Southampton – has been ordered to make the payment by a US court to Christopher Keays, 27, one of the engineers on Caribbean Princess.

It is on top of a record fine of £32 million for dumping gallons of oil waste off the English coast in 2013.

Mr Keays, from Glasgow, filmed the secret and illegal pipe and when the ship docked in Southampton he resigned and presented his evidence to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency which passed it on to the US coastguard.

A quarter of the fine has been earmarked for marine conservation and at least $1 million will go to British projects.

In a letter to the US Department of Justice, Mr Keays said: “The disregard for lawful practice and pollution of the sea without remorse left me with a genuine sadness that I was at the beginning of my career in an industry so irresponsible.”

Caribbean Princess had been making illegal discharges since 2005, US investigators discovered.

The cruise line, part of the Carnival group, pleaded guilty to seven charges in the US that involved one ship’s use of a “magic pipe” to divert oily waste into the sea.

Carnival is now required to submit 78 ships across its eight brands to a five-year environmental compliance programme overseen by a judge.

In a statement Princess Cruise Lines said: “We are extremely disappointed about the inexcusable actions of our employees who violated our policies and environmental law. We have taken additional steps to ensure we meet or exceed all environmental requirements.”