House committee investigating Carnival cruise line’s response to coronavirus
The House Transportation Committee launched a probe into the Carnival Corp.’s handling of coronavirus outbreaks on its cruise ships earlier this year.
The cruise line reported 1,500 confirmed cases of the coronavirus aboard nine of its cruise ships this year, and at least 39 deaths of passengers and crew members. Lawmakers are requesting a slew of documents and correspondence related to the company’s outbreak response.
“We would hope that the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic will place a renewed emphasis on public health and passenger safety, but frankly that has not been seen up to this point,” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who chairs the transportation committee, wrote in a letter addressed to Carnival CEO Arnold Donald.
DeFazio also penned a letter the U.S. Coast Guard and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asking them to disclose related information.
“It seems as though Carnival Corporation and its portfolio of nine cruise lines, which represents 109 cruise ships, is still trying to sell this cruise line fantasy and ignoring the public health threat,” DeFazio added.
The Miami-based cruise line has come under scrutiny after Bloomberg reported that company executives were aware of the hazard on their ships and didn’t take immediate action.
“They suggest that officials at Carnival were aware of the threats to some of its ships and did not take appropriate actions, which may have led to greater infections and the spread of the disease,” DeFazio wrote in his letter, referring to the Bloomberg report.
Carnival Corp. did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. An official told Bloomberg that the company is still reviewing the letter from the committee.
“Our goal is the same as the committee’s goal: to protect the health, safety and well-being of our guests and crew, along with compliance and environmental protection,” the company said in an email.