The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure announced an investigation into Carnival Corporation’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday.
In a letter to CEO Arnold Donald, the chair of the committee Oregan Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio requested the cruise company turn over all internal documents and communications related to COVID-19 since Jan. 1. Citing repeated COVID-19 outbreaks on Carnival Corp. ships, and a history of norovirus outbreaks in the cruise industry, DeFazio said more robust health precautions must be required when the company begins operations again.
“We understand your business and economic livelihood is focused in the entertainment and travel industry, but the realities of the coronavirus pandemic demand that the incentive to entertain is checkered by a responsibility to protect the health of passengers and crew,” the letter said.
The world’s largest cruise company with headquarters in Miami, saw its Diamond Princess ship, which visited Hilo, become the source of the largest COVID-19 outbreak outside China in February. The cruise industry waited until March 13 to cancel new cruises despite repeated warnings of the dangers and has still not been able to return all passengers and crew to their homes. A Miami Herald investigation has found that travelers on at least 19 Carnival Corp. ships have tested positive for COVID-19, and 58 people have died.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has banned cruising until July 24, or until the pandemic is declared over, citing the increased risk of COVID-19 spread on ships.