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Senator Rockefeller and Carnival lock horns over reimbursement
Carnival Corp has indicated in a couple of letters to Senator Jay Rockefeller that it has no intent to reimburse the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy for assistance in the recent Carnival Triumph accident, the 2010 Carnival Splendor incidents, or any future problem where they require help from the U.S. government to aid a distressed vessel.
The senator from West Virginia penned a letter March 14 to Carnival CEO Micky Arison alleging that the U.S. Coast Guard responded to 90 "serious events" involving Carnival ships over five years, and that the Coast Guard and Navy had shelled out $4.2 million to cover the Carnival Triumph and Carnival Splendor incidents. The senator asked whether Carnival, since it pays "little or nothing in federal taxes," will reimburse the Coast Guard and Navy. Without giving a specific "yes" or "no" answer to the question, James Hunn, Carnival's senior vice president, corporate maritime policy, wrote: "Carnival's policy is to honor maritime tradition that holds that the duty to render assistance at sea to those in need is a universal obligation of the entire maritime. Senator Rockefeller, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, wasn't pleased with Carnival's responses to his initial letter, calling the response 'shameful." "It is indisputable that Carnival passengers deserve better emergency response measures than they experienced on the Triumph. I am considering all options to hold the industry to higher passenger safety standards." Options under consideration would likely range from committee hearings to legislation.
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