Over the past week, CNN has aired a number of special programs about the cruise industry, revealing a number of things that the industry would prefer you not know.
The segment below focuses on the cruise lines’ efforts to avoid U.S taxes,
By registering their cruise ships in foreign countries, cruise lines avoid most U.S. regulations and virtually all U.S. taxes. The CNN program points out that Carnival is registered in Panama; Royal Caribbean in Liberia; and Princess in Bermuda. Why? Primarily to avoid U.S. taxes.
Last year Carnival paid no U.S. taxes. None. Over the last seven years Carnival netted profits of over 11 billion dollars and paid a measly amount in taxes of barely over 1%.
The video shows some interesting comments by Senator Rockefeller (D – WVA) who presided over the hearing in the U.S. Senate about the Costa Concordia disaster. He stated that cruise ships are "getting away with alot." They register overseas to avoid taxes; they hire cheap labor; they don’t reimburse some 20 U.S. federal agencies for services rendered to the foreign cruise ships; and they pay the absolute minimum to passengers who are seriously injured or killed due to their negligence and recklessness.
There is a direct correlation between registering cruise lines in places like Africa or Central America and few safety regulations and lackluster regulatory bodies.
CNN interviewed me for a short segment of the program where I discuss the extraordinary efforts cruise lines go to limit their liability by inserting onerous terms and conditions filled with legal "mumbo jumbo" to avoid paying fair compensation to injuries passengers and the families of the dead.
The cruise industry may say that its priority is the safety of passengers, but as Senator Rockefeller said: the cruise lines’ financial "bottom line" is the cruise lines’ true emphasis.
Watch the CNN video below: