Carnival Corp’s CEO, Arnold Donald (pictured), defended the company’s safety record yesterday during a news conference.
This followed criticisms aired in the US magazine Business Week about how Carnival handled the coronavirus outbreak on board its ships.
He told reporters in a media call that Carnival followed protocols from international authorities while handling two high-profile coronavirus outbreaks.
On 3rd February, Princess Cruises’ ‘Diamond Princess’ was quarantined at Yokohama, Japan, where 712 passengers were ultimately infected in what was then the biggest concentration of confirmed cases outside China. Nine passengers died, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Another outbreak occurred on board the ‘Grand Princess’, which was banned from returning to San Francisco last month after the authorities learned that some passengers and crew had developed flu-like symptoms.
She was subsequently quarantined and 21 passengers had tested positive for the coronavirus and one passenger died.
“With (the ‘Diamond Princess’) we did exactly what we were told to do, because we co-operated with the Japanese Ministry of Health,” Arnold said, according to Reuters. “We followed their protocol; they decided to hold the ship, they decided to put the quarantine in place. Our job was to respect it and execute it, which is exactly what we did.”
With regard to the ‘Grand Princess’, Arnold explained, “We worked with the CDC, we worked with all the local authorities there — the governor, the ports, and as everybody figured out what they wanted to do. And we were in compliance with each of them.”
On 9th April, the CDC extended its ‘no sail order’ for all cruise ships in the US for up to 100 days. The cruise industry is working on a proposal, which will be submitted to the CDC, which will include enhanced sanitisation and health safety protocols, according to CLIA.
Carnival and other cruise companies are not eligible to receive funding from the US CARES Act as they are incorporated outside of the US, Reuters explained.
During his press conference, Arnold stressed that Carnival, which is incorporated in Panama, had no plans to re-incorporate elsewhere. He said that he hoped to have some existing debt in Germany, the UK and Italy extended and to defer their debt maturities, as a result of stimulus packages in those countries.
Speaking on CNBC on Tuesday, Arnold claimed that Carnival’s bookings for 2021 were strong, Reuters said.