The Miami Herald has reported that Micky Arison has given his first interview regarding the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster that occurred on January 13, 2012. He had been criticized about his lack of visibility following the disaster.
He is quoted in the article: “Obviously, I am very sorry it happened,…when you have 100 ships out there, sometimes unfortunate things happen, but as I said, it was an accident. We as a company do everything we can to encourage the highest of safety standards.”
I am sorry Mr. Arison, but I think Congress might disagree with you, as well as all of the people who were aboard the Costa Concordia, when you say this was just an accident.
The cruise ship industry is receiving a lot of scrutiny now by Congress about the so called safety standards and regulations they maintain, and serious questions have arose as to whether they can be characterized as “the highest of safety standards”, as stated by Mr. Arison. This was not just something unfortunate that happened, an accident. This was a reckless disregard for the safety and lives of all those passengers that were onboard the Costa Concordia.
Carnival Cruise Lines has been sued by passengers aboard the Costa Concordia, as they are the parent of the Costa company that was operating Costa Concordia. Even though Mr. Arison says that they maintain the highest of safety standards, he has indicated that they are examining all of the standards and regulations following the Costa Concordia incident, including the procedures regarding lifeboat safety drills. It was reported that Costa followed a procedure whereby safety drills with the passengers took place after the cruise ship already sailed. Many of the passengers onboard the Costa Concordia had not participated in any safety drills prior to the disaster. This procedure has been severely criticized, resulting in some cruise ship companies already voluntarily adopting strict policies that all safety drills must take place before the cruise ship sails.
It’s interesting that Micky Arison chose to speak publically about the Costa Concordia after Carnival’s first quarter’s earnings were announced, where it was reported that they suffered a net loss of $139 million. The cruise line companies, including Carnival, are very concerned about their revenues. They have been engaging in a public relations campaign and media blitz in an effort to bring back the positive image of the cruise ship industry that the cruise lines have worked so hard to develop and maintain over the years, even in the face of reports of sexual assaults, rapes and crimes occurring on board cruise ships at a much greater rate than ever known or expected.
There is no doubt the cruise ship industry has taken a hit, deservedly so. Hopefully, the Costa Concordia disaster, as well as other reported incidents which have led to Congressional Hearings, will result in positive changes in the laws.
Our firm continues to be safety advocates for those harmed at sea.