Senator Rockefeller to Cruise CEO Micky Arison: Carnival's Failure to Address Safety Issues - "This Needs to Stop"

Senator John Rockefeller TwitterTwitter Smack Down!

A few minutes ago Senator John Rockefeller tweeted to Carnival CEO Mickey Arison:

".@USCoastGuard responded to 90 incidents with Carnival ships in 5yrs- with passengers onboard. This needs to change" http://1.usa.gov/152nF2x "

Senator Rockefeller linked his tweet to a letter he sent to Micky Arison today expressing his deep concerns regarding the safety of Carnival ships and indicated that he was not surprised by the latest incident today regarding the Carnival Dream.  He also sent the Carnival CEO a list of questions and Carnival Triumph Cruise Shiprequested documents.  You can read the remarkable letter here

Senator Rockefeller also posted a Coast Guard spread sheet listing a "string of 90 marine casualty incidents with passengers onboard Carnival ships in the last five years." You can see the list here.

Senator Rockefeller wrote "just today, we’ve been reminded of Carnival’s dismal safety record with reports that the Carnival Dream is experiencing problems. The ship is stranded in a Caribbean port with no power and thousands of passengers trapped onboard. Last month, the Coast Guard spent almost $780,000 in responding to the Carnival Triumph incident – costs that are paid by federal taxpayers.” 

Rockefeller held a Commerce Committee oversight hearing in March 2012, following the Costa Concordia disaster, to examine deficiencies in the cruise line industry’s compliance with federal safety, security, and environmental standards and review whether cruise ship industry regulations sufficiently protect passengers and the environment.

We attended the hearing and blogged about the hearing where Senator Rockefeller said to the cruise Micky Arison Twitterline representatives: "You Are A World Unto Yourselves."

Senator Rockefeller's stinging rebuke of Carnival comes as the cruise industry just ended its annual cruise convention at the Miami Beach Convention Center.  The cruise executives all touted the safety of the industry and how "rare" cruise mishaps allegedly are.

So far, no tweets by Arison in response to Senator Rockefeller's tweet.

Arison spends most of his time on Twitter tweeting about his Miami Heat basketball team.

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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Tim - March 15, 2013 1:32 AM

Hi Jim, I've been following your blog for a while and just wanted to make a few observations because I'm trying to keep this particular claim in realism.

First off, it sounds to me like this is political grandstanding more than anything else. What would the dear politician have said if the ship sailed anyway with an inop emergency genset and the government discovered it months later through logs and record keeping? I don't think it's fair to make an issue out of this particular case seeing that they're actually doing the right thing. Or what if they just didn't conduct whatever test/MX work they were doing and totally ignored it? But I guess we can't deviate the planned voyage for the sake of the precious pax onboard who didn't want their planes ruined.

More importantly though, this list of all these coast guard reported incidents, what is the exact nature of them all? It's just too vague, I'd like to see details of every single one.
Compare it to aviation, the NTSB and FAA list a reportable incident as being something as minor as a ground collision (as long as the damage is $25K or higher which isn't hard to do) or runway overrun all the way up to smoldering wires and engine failures. Realistically, reportable incidents are more common than what people are aware of, speaking specifically about 121 and 135 operators but I'm not doubting the safety of aviation. It usually only makes news when it's near catastrophic or worse. As it is there's an acceptable list of equipment (MEL) a commercial/transport aircraft can fly with inoperative when the carrier and FAA agree to certain terms.

Fundamentally the biggest difference between the two are their operational methods. It seems a ship is on a constant voyage with regular stops but never really shuts down unlike airplanes that have the opportunity to shut down and check everything out at regular intervals and even with those MX intervals things will break. You can have a fleet of 100 airplanes and 2-3 will probably have some kind of issue.

Again, I'm not really clear on vessel operations but I'm trying to put it in perspective when you consider aviation and some of the crappy bureaucracy involved with that. Personally I think the operator did the right thing in this particular case and I don't think anyone should be jumping on their high horse for no reason. There's bigger things to worry with these ships than stupid things like this.

francois clermont - March 15, 2013 9:06 AM

Good day . thanks for your good work
The way they reported the incident is not credible , if it was a test for emergency generator it should not affect the normal switchboard . When you do such test you manually trip the normal/emergency breaker in the main electrical board without disturbing normal power , the emergency generator should kick in within 30 second and power emergency load .The cruise line are hiring good liars (advocate ) as public relations but these guys know nothing they are talking about

Nadia - March 15, 2013 9:05 PM

No matter what is going on with the Carnival Cruise ships right now, we have to give Carnival Cruise Lines a chance to fix their current failures. I just got back from one of the Carnival cruises and it was nothing but joy. So let's not blame it all. The worst thing we can do right now is to spread panic and negativity among the people who are stranded at sea...

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