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Carnival Cruise Line Subject Of Congressional Investigation

The Carnival Corp. Miracle and Panorama cruise ships anchored in Long Beach, Calif. on April 13, 2020.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Carnival Corp. Miracle and Panorama cruise ships anchored in Long Beach, Calif. on April 13, 2020.

Congress is investigating Carnival Cruise Line for its response to the coronavirus pandemic. A House committee wants to know why Carnival didn't act sooner to protect the health of passengers and staff.

The chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Peter DeFazio, sent a letter to Carnival CEO Arnold Donald asking for all documents relating to the cruise line's response to the pandemic. DeFazio (D-Oregon) cites concerns raised by the outbreak on the Diamond Princess in March, in which more than 800 people were infected and 10 people died.

Outbreaks of norovirus aboard cruise ships led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to issue warnings to the industry long before emergence of the coronavirus. "Based on the Carnival Corporation's response to the current coronavirus crisis," DeFazio wrote, "it appears that sort of advice was not heeded." Citing a Bloomberg report, he notes at least nine of Carnival's ships had coronavirus outbreaks with at least 39 deaths and more than 1,500 confirmed infections.

Currently, the cruise industry is on hold. The CDC has issued a no-sail order banning cruises until at least July 24. When travel restrictions eventually are lifted, DeFazio said Congress and the public needs assurances that Carnival and the cruise line industry "are instituting necessary measures to ensure that the safety of the traveling public and crew members."

The House committee is asking for Carnival's Outbreak Prevention and Response Plans, plus all correspondence related to the pandemic. Carnival said it will cooperate with the investigation. In a statement, the company said, "Our goal is the same as the committee's goal: to protect the health, safety and well-being of our guests and crew, along with compliance and environmental protection."

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As NPR's Miami correspondent, Greg Allen reports on the diverse issues and developments tied to the Southeast. He covers everything from breaking news to economic and political stories to arts and environmental stories. He moved into this role in 2006, after four years as NPR's Midwest correspondent.