Carnival chief: CNN report based on 'frivolous' suit

By Tom Stieghorst
In the company’s fourth-quarter conference call for analysts, Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald offered his view of a critical CNN story aired this week.

Donald said the story on the cable channel's AC360 show was based on documents from a “frivolous” lawsuit Carnival is seeking to dismiss.

“I’m disappointed they got any airtime whatsoever,” Donald said of the report, which concluded that Carnival Cruise Lines officials knew Carnival Triumph had "a propensity for fires."

The story cited internal Carnival documents produced in trial preparations for Houston attorney Frank Spagnoletti. Segments quoted by CNN suggest that the diesel generator that caught fire was past due for maintenance and out of compliance with international safety rules.

The show also said Carnival’s ticket contract doesn’t warrant that cruises are safe. Donald said that language was picked up in error from a court motion seeking to dismiss the suit and isn’t in the contract.

“We stand behind our product,” he said. “Our ships are safe, our ships are sound, and our ships are seaworthy.”

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