Carnival to reimburse federal government for rescues

By Tom Stieghorst
Carnival Corp. has decided to reimburse the U.S. government for the costs incurred by the Coast Guard and Navy in coming to the aid of two of its cruise ships that had engine fires.

Carnival will pay back the expenses related to the Carnival Triumph rescue in the Gulf of Mexico in February and a similar event off the California coast in 2010 involving Carnival Splendor.

In a prepared statement, Carnival said, "It should be clearly noted that at no point in time has Carnival stated it would refuse to reimburse federal agencies if they sought remuneration."

The Coast Guard has calculated its cost related to Carnival Triumph at $779,000 and the Splendor at $1.5 million. The Navy spent another $1.9 million, according to U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who has pressed Carnival as to whether it would pay for the help it received.

In its statement, Carnival said that although no agencies have requested remuneration, "the company has made the decision to voluntarily provide reimbursement to the federal government."

Previously, Carnival had responded to Rockefeller in a letter from James Hunn, Carnival Corp.'s senior vice president of maritime policy. Hunn said that help for ships in trouble at sea is the universal obligation of the entire maritime community.

Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly.
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