Tonight Seatrade Insider published an article about Carnival CEO Micky Arison's letter to Senator Rockefeller who has been critical of Carnival cruise line's avoidance of taxes and non-payment of services to federal agencies like the U.S. Coast Guard.
You will recall that Senator Rockefeller, who convened a hearing last year after the Carnival-owned Costa Concordia cruise ship killed 32 passengers and crew members and injured or terrorized thousands of others, sent a letter to cruise tycoon Arison last week. Rockefeller asked Arison whether Panama-incorporated Carnival though it was fair that it paid a pittance in taxes. Rockefeller asked Arison to pay for the considerable services incurred by US federal agencies when Carnival cruise ships caught on fire or were disabled on the high seas.
You will not find a copy of the letter from Arison to Rockefeller anywhere on line. The only one talking about the letter is Seatrade Insider, because Carnival sent an advance copy of the letter to its friends at that cruise publication.
Why did Seatrade Insider receive an advance copy? Because that publication is an associate member of the cruise industry trade organization Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) whose goal is to advance the interests of the cruise lines. Seatrade Insider did not bother to publish the letter but obviously supports everything the billionaire cruise CEO said and it summarily dismissed all of Senator Rockefeller's well-founded points.
Arison's letter enclosed responses signed by Carnival vice president for corporate maritime policy James Hunn. Carnival says that is has no intention of reimbursing the U.S for anything. Carnival also does not contest the fact, brought out by a NBC special last week, that over the last 5 years it paid only 0.6% in local, state, national and international taxes on the many billions of dollars in revenues collected each year. Last year, Carnival collected over $15 billion in revenues.
Earlier today, Carnival lost one of its greatest supporters when the editor of the Cruise Critic cruise fan site, Carolyn Spencer Brorwn, stated that she would not cruise on Carnival and she recommended that the Cruise Critic readers "book elsewhere."
We'll comment further on Arison's letter after it is received by the Senator and released to others outside of the cruise line's cheerleaders like Seatrade Insider.
April 3 2013 Update: You can read the letter here. It seems to dodge some of the requests for information and documents. It's argumentative. And it down-plays the seriousness of most of the 90 incidents involving Carnival over the past several years.
Photo Credit: Jim Walker