Greed On the High Seas: "Poop Cruise" & Concordia Cruise Executive Cashes $395,000,000 of Carnival Stock

Last week I wrote an article about Royal Caribbean CEO and President Adam Goldstein cashing in over $2,300,000 worth of Royal Caribbean stock, still leaving him with around $19,000,000 worth of his company's stock. 

It's difficult to justify the enormous wealth of the cruise executives given the fact that the cruise business is rigged to create gigantic profits free of U.S. taxes. Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean (Liberia) and Carnival (Panama) incorporated in foreign countries in order to avoid U.S. taxes, labor and wage laws, and safety regulations. The cruise lines pay dirt cheap wages to laborers from India and the Caribbean islands. They provide no benefits at all to their loyal crew members.

Cruise executive compensation isn't tied to whether the line's ships sink or catch on fire. One of the Micky Arison Carnival CruiseRoyal Caribbean cruise ships, the Grandeur of the Seas, caught on fire for two hours last year yet cruise CEO Goldstein still raked in millions. Cruise executives are rewarded for squeezing blood out of the stone. 

Tax-fee Royal Caribbean pays a salary of only $50 a month to its waiters and cabin attendants who it works like dogs, relying on the tax-paying cruise passengers to pay tips so the employees can try and make a living.  Yet Royal Caribbean is stealing, some say, some of the passenger money intended for tips and using the "tips" to pay the salaries of the non-tip earning crew members. Last year Royal Caribbean fired over one-hundred employees in its corporate offices here in Miami because of "tough economic times." Yet the cruise line executives like CEO Goldstein and chairman Richard Fain still pocketed millions and millions and millions at the end of the year.

No doubt the cruise employees are getting the shaft. The crew is getting poorer while the fat cat executives are getting richer and richer.  

The greediest cruise executive in my opinion is, hands down, no doubt-about-it, by-far Micky Arison. He makes Goldstein look like chump change. Arison is the news this weekend after agreeing to sell up to 10 million shares of Carnival Corporation stock. At $39.50 per share, that's $395,000,000. 5 million shares were sold on Friday and the remaining shares will be sold over the next 15 months, After the sale is complete, the Arison family will still own 188,000,000 shares worth over $7,426,000,000.

What will multi-billionaire Arison do with the $395,000,000? Build medical clinics in Goa, India where most of his crew members come from? Fund the retirement benefits for his hard working Filipino crew members who have slaved away far-from-their-children for decades on his ships?  Create schools in Nicaragua where thousands of family members of Carnival crew members reside? No, no, no. The nearly $400 million in cash will be solely for his own tax and estate planning.

CEO Arison paid himself a $90,000,000 bonus in 2002 - the same year of the Costa Concordia disaster. In my assessment, he seems like a money hoarder without a social conscious. Here are some of the infamous incidents involving Carnival Corporation and its brands over the last few years:

It is an amazing spectacle to watch Arison enrich himself irrespective of the Concordia capsizing and the Triumph engine room fire. 

Just last week we commented on Carnival's press release, issued during the middle of the Triumph "poop cruise" trial here in Miami. Carnival characterized the cruise passengers, who endured four days in the Gulf of Mexico after the negligently maintained old ship caught fire, as greedy.

I suppose it's business as usual for Carnival to malign its Triumph cruise guests while chairman Arison is cashing in a fraction of his cruise stock during the middle of the Triumph trial for $395,000,000. 

 

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Comments (5) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Andy Smithers - March 2, 2014 5:17 PM

You finally gave Arison some of his due. Other issues such as citizenship were a factor here too. Taking up Israeli citizenship was the one that broke the camels back for me solely to hide his money from US taxes. The US Coast Guard is still playing ambulance service for his ships for FREE! Crime on their ships go unreported without fear or reprisals and guest knowing of security issues on board. He milks the US cruising public like they were his holy cow. He burns the schlep of fuel oils which pollutes our air and waters. He plays God when he decides these poor nations that build more and bigger ports then when he gets a sweeter offer he walks away without concern and bankrupts these small nations. Congress knowing all of this and yet they still stand idle. I do appreciate you being the only real defender of the cruising public. A populist view from a very concerned annual cruiser

Mr. Keller-Martin - March 2, 2014 6:01 PM

I suggest that each cruise passenger has the auto-tip taken off his bill and give his gratuity directly to the crew member he wants to honor. This is what we shall do in future.

John Goldsmith - March 2, 2014 6:50 PM

Jim,
Nothing in your article pointing at the cruise industry as a rich corporations is any different from any large corporation in the U.S. or Canada. The profits recently announced by banks are made from all the fees and extra charges debited from our accounts at virtually no cost to the bank. Corporate Canada and America are in business to make money for the shareholders, in some cases, also happen to be chairmen, CEO's and CFO's of these corporations. So in effect they are doing their jobs, and from the dollars mentioned in your article. They are doing it well. I don't really like corporations myself, as I've mentioned before, for your reasons and many of my own. However, at the moment there is not enforceable laws or legislation to curtail the extremes noted in you article. And are you sure you want to stifle the capitalism that creates these corporations?

Dana - March 4, 2014 3:35 PM

Mr Keller-Martin: I totally agree with you Sir!! I always have my auto tips taken off and I place the tips secretly into the hands of the person\persons I want the tip to go to!!! The last cruise I went on; I gave my cabin steward a hug and while hugging her; I slipped her tip into her hand!!

Richard Butterworth - April 1, 2014 11:38 AM

"CEO Arison paid himself a $90,000,000 bonus in 2002 - the same year of the Costa Concordia disaster." The Costa Concordia disaster occurred in 2012.

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