The U.S. Public Health Service graded the Carnival Liberty 80 in a Jan. 4 sanitary inspection, the fourth time in three months that a Carnival Cruise Line ship has received an "unsatisfactory" ranking.

Cruise ships must achieve at least an 86 on a scale of 1 to 100 to be considered satisfactory. A vast majority of ships pass the inspections, which are typically done twice a year.

The score follows rankings of 78 for the Carnival Triumph, 77 for the Carnival Breeze and 79 for the Carnival Vista in inspections made since November.

The Carnival Liberty report itemizes 71 violations documented by the inspection team, including "three dead flying insects inside the deckhead light fixture at the clean side of the dishwash machine."

Carnival said in a statement that the scores aren't reflective of the priority it places on operational excellence on its ships, and that immediate corrective action was taken, including a fleet-wide retraining and continuing education initiative.

The Public Health Service is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which administers the inspections through its Vessel Sanitation Program.

Asked if the run of inspection failures on one line was unusual, a CDC spokeswoman said the agency does not "routinely evaluate frequency or trends of specific violations." She said each inspection is "a snapshot of a particular ship in time."

The spokeswoman said that most ships passed, and provided data on the failure rate for the past five years.

In 2017, she said, there were 256 routine operational inspections with 17 failures, for a failure rate of 2.6%.

In 2016 there were 238 inspections with four failures. For 2015 there were 269 inspections with five failures; in 2014 there were 248 inspections and 12 failures, and in 2013 there were 231 inspections with 15 failures.

Asked if Carnival ships would get additional scrutiny or systematic inspections following the recent rash of unsatisfactory grades, the spokeswoman said only that "VSP inspections are unannounced and conducted while a vessel is in a U.S. port."


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