Carnival to Reimburse U.S. for Cruise Ship Incident Costs

Carnival Corp., bowing to pressure from U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, said it will reimburse the U.S. for costs related to the breakdowns at sea of its Triumph and Splendor cruise ships.

“Although no agencies have requested remuneration, the company has made the decision to voluntarily provide reimbursement to the federal government,” Miami-based Carnival said in an e-mailed statement today.

Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat who heads the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, asked Carnival Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Micky Arison in a March 14 letter whether the cruise line intended to reimburse the Coast Guard and Navy for expenses responding to an engine room fire on the Triumph and a similar incident on the Splendor in November 2010.

“I’m glad to see that Carnival owned up to the bare minimum of corporate responsibility by reimbursing federal taxpayers for these two incidents,” Rockefeller said in an e-mailed statement. “I am still committed to making sure the cruise industry as a whole pays its fair share in taxes, complies with strict safety standards, and holds the safety of its passengers above profits.”

The Triumph had to be towed to port in Mobile, Alabama, without its main power source, leaving 3,100 passengers with limited food and toilet service for several days. In his March letter, Rockefeller said the Coast Guard spent $780,000 on the Triumph incident and $1.54 million responding to the Splendor. The Navy spent $1.88 million on the Splendor.

Carnival, the world’s largest cruise line operator, fell 2.8 percent to $33.17 at the close in New York. The shares have declined 9.8 percent this year.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.