Carnival Corporation has issued a response to Senator Jay Rockefeller’s March 14 letter, expressing his concerns over the Carnival Triumph incident, the industry’s safety record, and its lack of taxation in North America.
In a brief letter, Carnival Chairman Micky Arison said he had discussed safety and environmental policies, as well as taxation, with Sen. Rockefeller a year ago and had the impression that the Senator was satisfied with his responses. In addition, Carnival attached a lengthy letter from Captain James Hunn, senior vice president of corporate maritime policy, who also provided answers to each of Sen. Rockefeller’s questions, basically saying that the incidents on the Splendor, Triumph and Dream were separate accidents, unrelated and inaccurately reported by the press.
As for the 90 incidents reported by the Coast Guard over five years, cited by to Sen. Rockefeller in his letter, Carnival said that 83 did not meet the definition of a serious marine accident according to federal regulations. The remaining seven were the Splendor, Triumph and Concordia incidents, two ship allusions that did not involve any guest or crew injuries, a case of appendicitis that required airlifting a crewmember, and an incident of a guest who jumped off the ship.
Hunn pointed out that Carnival has an excellent safety record over its 41-year history and carried 28 million passengers between 2010 and 2012.
Rather than going into what Hunn referred to as inaccuracies in the description of the conditions aboard the Triumph, he wrote that all parties would better served awaiting the official reports from the Bahamas, the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board.
Conditions aboard the Dream were also inaccurately reported with a malfunction that rendered the emergency diesel generator inoperable, according to Hunn. He said the ship’s powerplant, propulsion and hotel systems were fully operational. There was only periodic disruption to restroom and elevator service for a few hours one night. Otherwise, there were no issues with sanitation functionality or the cleanliness of the vessel.
Addressing Sen. Rockefeller questions from March 14, Carnival stated that the Triumph had experienced an electrical issue with one of the ship’s alternators in late January. It had been repaired and approved for service by the supplier and Lloyd’s Register, and there was no evidence of any relationship between that issue and the fire that occurred Feb. 10.
The fire on the Triumph was the result of leak in a flexible return pipe to one of the engines. Carnival said its maintenance system goes beyond the requirements, with visible inspection of these fuel pipes every six months and replacement every 18 months. The pipe in question was replaced Aug. 23, 2012.
The fire on the Splendor on the other hand was due to the failure of a connecting rod in one of the engines.
Carnival attached a chart outlining actions implemented after both incidents, including fire command training, engine fire squad training, updated firefighting procedures, new system testing protocols, engine hot spot protection and monthly inspections, engine room spray guard protection, upgraded fog systems, increased number of video cameras in engine room spaces , new watertight door operating procedures, manual roll call for CO2 discharge, review of CO2 manuals and total fire risk assessment.
Carnival did respond to a question whether it intends to reimburse the Coast Guard, but said instead that its ships have on occasion provided assistance to Coast Guard in rescue operations, and that company policy is to render assistance at sea to those in need as a universal obligation of the entire maritime community. The company also said it was deeply grateful to the Coast Guard and the Navy.
Responding to the Senator’s question whether the company pays enough taxes, Carnival referred to the industry’s job creation and positive economic impact in the U.S.
Carnival also said that 43 percent of its available lower berth days are associated with voyages that originate in U.S. ports, and the time those berths spend in U.S. ports compared to time spent outside of the U.S., is in the rage of 10 percent to 15 percent.