Carnival responds to Sen. Rockefeller's queries

By Tom Stieghorst

Carnival Corp. Chairman Micky Arison has responded to a list of queries from Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) triggered by the engine-room fire on the Carnival Triumph.

In a letter, Arison said Rockefeller's questions cover much of the same ground addressed in a meeting between the two last year in Rockefeller's Senate office.

Attached to Arison's letter were responses to Rockefeller's questions from James Hunn, Carnival Corp.'s senior vice president of corporate maritime policy.

Hunn said there is no connection between technical problems on the ship leading up to the Triumph fire with the fire itself.

A faulty alternator had been repaired eight days before the fire, which has been attributed to a leaking fuel-return line.

"There is no evidence of any relationship between this issue and the fire that occurred on Feb. 10, 2013," Hunn wrote.

Hunn said a list of 90 marine casualties investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard on Carnival Corp. ships since 2008 included only seven that met the definition "serious" under the Code of Federal Regulations, and that required Coast Guard intervention.

In response to an inquiry about whether Carnival would reimburse the $779,914 cost to the Coast Guard associated with Carnival Triumph, Hunn said Carnival's policy is to honor maritime tradition that holds that "the duty to render assistance at sea to those in need is a universal obligation of the entire maritime community."

"We frequently render assistance at sea at our own cost," Hunn added.

Rockefeller asked Carnival what part of its business derives from access to U.S ports and infrastructure.

Hunn wrote that about 43% of its capacity is associated with trips that originate in U.S. ports and about 10-15% of available bed days are spent in U.S. ports.

Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly.

Correction: Carnival Corp.'s senior vice president of corporate maritime policy is James Hunn, not James Munn as it was spelled in a previous version of this report.

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