The battle between Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and the cruise industry — Carnival Corp. in particular — shows no signs of heading into a détente. Rockefeller apparently was not placated by a letter from Carnival Chairman and CEO Micky Arison, who affirmed that his ships are safe and also provided a rebuttal to the senator’s concerns about 90 incidents over the past five years.
Indeed, Rockefeller now says he is planning further action to increase oversight over the cruise industry, which could include additional letters, hearings or legislation. He chairs the Senate committee on commerce, science and transportation, which held hearings on the cruise industry in 2012.
“Carnival’s response to my detailed inquiry is shameful,” Rockefeller said. “It is indisputable that Carnival passengers deserve better emergency response measures than they experienced on the Triumph. I am considering all options to hold the industry to higher passenger safety standards.”
Among his concerns, Rockefeller believes Carnival should reimburse the U.S. Coast Guard for expenses incurred when it assists ships in distress, such as when the Carnival Triumph lost power in the Gulf of Mexico in February. “The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy have indicated that the costs to them of responding to the 2010 Carnival Splendor incident were $1,541,904.53 and $1,884,376.75, respectively,” Rockefeller wrote in a March 14 letter to Arison. “More recently, the Coast Guard has indicated to me that the cost of responding to the Carnival Triumph incident is $779,914.26. These costs ultimately must be borne by federal taxpayers. Given that you reportedly pay little or nothing in federal taxes, do you intend to reimburse the Coast Guard and Navy for the cost of responding to either the Carnival Splendor marine casualty or the Carnival Triumph marine casualty?”
Carnival Corp.’s response came in a March 29 letter signed by Capt. James Hunn, senior vice president-corporate maritime policy: “Carnival’s policy is to honor maritime tradition that holds that the duty to render assistance at sea to those in need is a universal obligation of the entire maritime community,” Hunn wrote. “The cruise industry is no exception and…we frequently render assistance at sea at our own cost, on our own initiative or at the direct request of the U.S. Coast Guard and other authorities. For example, the U.S. Coast Guard requested assistance from the cruise industry 11 times in the past 12 months within Florida and Caribbean waters. This assistance included rescue efforts for vessels in distress. The duty to render assistance at sea is internationally recognized and all of our brands work with foreign governments and maritime authorities to render assistance at sea to others when the circumstance arise or when requested by such authorities in foreign or international waters. We remain deeply grateful for all of the services performed by the brave men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy.”
By Theresa Norton Masek, Travel Pulse
For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html
Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more