The U.S. Congress has launched an investigation into Carnival Corporation, the operator of the Princess cruise ship, about its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, Bloomberg reported. Officials are now asking Carnival to turn over documents and communications about its new corona virus response and future improvement plans.
The survey, led by the U.S. House Of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is investigating how much Carnival executives understand the severity of the new crown outbreak on its cruise ship and what action Carnival took on the cruise ship after learning of the risks. More than 1,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 can be traced back to the company’s cruise ship, and dozens of Carnival customers and crew have since died from the virus.
The survey cites a shocking Bloomberg report last month in which authors Austin Carr and Chris Palmeri conducted an in-depth investigation into how Florida-based Carnival Co. handled the COVID-19 outbreak on its nine ships. The reporters gave enlightening interviews to the crew and passengers and had lengthy conversations with Carnival CEO Arnold Donald. The report said the company did not act fast enough to order its passengers to self-segregate. Instead, many cruise ships decide to keep passengers in extremely close contact with the pool and buffet-style dining area.
“We hope that the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic will re-emphasize public health and passenger safety, but frankly, so far we have not seen that,” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) wrote in a letter to Carnival Corporation announcing the investigation. “It seems that Carnival and its portfolio of nine cruise lines representing 109 cruise ships are still trying to sell the cruise line’s fantasy while ignoring the threat to public health. “
Bloomberg reported that many of the customers who received refunds from Carnival Corp. chose to get a refund on a future cruise ship, and in some cases the company also sweetened it by giving away free vouchers. Although the company has suspended cruise services since March, some passengers and crew remain stranded on cruise ships around the world. “Our goals are the same as the committee’s,” Carnival said in a statement to Bloomberg. “
In addition to the House of Representatives investigation, Australian police last month launched a criminal investigation into carnival company’s handling of the March 19 cruise ship Ruby Princess in Sydney, with the aim of investigating whether Carnival officials misled Australian authorities about the coVID-19 outbreak on board, when nearly a third of Australia’s new crown deaths were linked to the Ruby Princess cruise ship.