U.S. Congress to Probe Carnival’s Handling of Onboard Coronavirus Cases
The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure announced an investigation into Carnival Corporation’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday, according to a news report posted by The Miami Herald.
In a letter to CEO Arnold Donald, the chair of the committee Oregon Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio requested the cruise company turn over all internal documents and communications related to COVID-19 since Jan. 1.
Citing repeated COVID-19 outbreaks on Carnival Corp. ships, and a history of norovirus outbreaks in the cruise industry, DeFazio said more robust health precautions must be required when the company begins operations again.
The world’s largest cruise company with headquarters in Miami, saw its Diamond Princess ship become the source of the largest COVID-19 outbreak outside China in mid-February.
The cruise industry waited until March 13 to cancel new cruises despite repeated warnings of the dangers and has still not been able to return all passengers and crew to their homes, The Miami Herald report continues.
DeFazio and New York Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who leads the congressional subcommittee responsible for maritime oversight, also sent letters to the Coast Guard and U.S. Centers for Disease Control requesting any communications they might have had with Carnival related to COVID-19 from Jan. 1, 2020, to the present.
Donald, who joined the company as CEO in 2013, has repeatedly downplayed the crisis, saying “very few” ships have been affected. The company operates 104 ships across its nine cruise lines: Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, P&O Cruises Australia, Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises, P&O Cruises, and Cunard; 19 have been affected.
The CDC has banned cruising until July 24, or until the pandemic is declared over, citing the increased risk of COVID-19 spread on ships.
The House committee leading the probe into Carnival is also investigating Boeing after the company’s 737 Max plane crashed twice in five months killing nearly 350 people.