Bloomberg Businessweek reports that the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has opened an investigation into Carnival Cruise Line’s allegedly negligent mishandling of the deadly Coronavirus outbreaks that have resulted in over 1,500 confirmed infections on its cruise ships as well as the deaths of dozens of passengers and crew members.
In letters sent to Carnival President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, House Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio requested that Carnival submit a long list of internal documents and correspondence related to its response to the outbreaks, as well as specific details of the cruise lines plans to improve their operations. “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,” DeFazio wrote in the letter to Carnival which was also signed by Sean Maloney, the chair of the maritime transportation subcommittee. “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.”
Since February 2020, at least nine Carnival cruise ships have suffered from coronavirus outbreaks, which according to Bloomberg, raises significant questions about the company’s negligence and the safety of its fleet. Lieff Cabraser has filed a federal class action injury lawsuit on behalf of Carnival Grand Princess passengers advancing claims that over 2,000 cruise ship passengers were exposed to COVID-19 through gross negligence by the companies that own and operate the ship. The lawsuit is against Carnival, Princess Cruise Lines, and Fairline Shipping International Ltd. (the vessel’s owner).
In the new congressional probe, the Committee cites a recent cover story by Bloomberg detailing Carnival’s delayed reaction in addressing the outbreaks and notes that the “recent allegations … are quite disturbing. 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.”