Update: Carnival to reimburse U.S. for Triumph, Splendor response.

“I’m discussing @Carnival cruises on @RockCenterNBC tonight at 10. Freeloaders at taxpayer expense- needs to change” Senator Jay Rockefeller via Twitter

Carnival Triumph Incident

The Carnival Triumph seen from the Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous. US Coast Guard photo

This week a Georgia Congressman announced he wants to hold hearings regarding Carnival’s handling of the Triumph incident, while US Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia reported that he is investigating Carnival Cruise Lines for not reimbursing taxpayers for the nearly $780,000 in US Coast Guard and government costs associated with the rescue of the Carnival Triumph.

According to the Associated Press, Senator Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, wrote to Miami-based Carnival in March saying he was “deeply troubled” by reports from passengers about conditions on the Triumph prior to its arrival in Mobile in February after being assisted by the US Coast Guard. “These costs must ultimately be borne by federal taxpayers” said Rockefeller.

The letter also highlighted the fact that Carnival pays “little or no federal income taxes” to the US government and asked Carnival to provide more information about 90 ship related incidents the US Coast Guard has recorded in the past five years.

Carnival responded to the Senator by saying “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.” Carnival also said that its ships responded to 11 incidents in the past year at the request of the Coast Guard.

Rockefeller called the response “shameful” and says that that he is considering “all options” to improve safety standards aboard passenger vessels and recoup government costs related to the Triumph Incident.

In a recent statement, Carnival CEO Mickey Arison avoided the topic of reimbursement but stated “I assure you, as I did during our discussions, that we remain committed to the safety and comfort of our guests and we are proud of our ability to provide millions of people with safe, fun and memorable vacation experiences.”

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  • Barry Parker

    PR floggings are routine for CCL- they should be used to them by now, as should readers and CCL Investors. Are the 11 responses mentioned by Carnival at the direction of AMVER? Just wondering.

    • NY Metro

      Whoa . . . wait a second. Carnival is a commercial marine business. This was not Dr. Dentist in his new Hatteras, or Professor Doogood in her Hunt. How can we justify Carnival passing a cost of a marine commerce on to the public ? I’m assuming the USCG involved themselves initially because of the number of U.S. passengers aboard. How does that absolve Carnival of the cost of the rescue / salvage effort ? Should Cunard call the Coast Guard the time a ship arrives in New York and declare an emergency because Moran’s docking Pilot and tugs will charge more than they would like to pay ?

  • http://Caphenning.com Henning

    This is interesting when one considers that the entire ‘Commercial Assist Towing’ industry grew out of congress denying the Coast Guard the ability to charge for reimbursement over 20 years ago.

  • Jeremy

    Of course if they REALLY wanted to do something, they would force them to be US flag. Then they could get real answers and levy real fines. This is just congressional showboating.

  • Tom Barnacles

    Congress really shouldn’t go messing around with the traditions of the sea and the traditional mission of the Coast Guard. Yeah, the Carnival Triumph incidence is cross-threading logic and common sense, and serves as the Pole Star of neglegent management, but imposing a mandatory reimbursement for assistance at sea will come back to bite you hard in the pantaloons.

    WHAT Congress should do to compensate for the tax loss to these marine freeloaders is to force each company to pay a regulatory insurance fee for each USA citizen that sails aboard these ships. Then, ensure the money is channeled back into marine safety and rescue programs — NOT into the federal waste-budget barrel.

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