Inouye amendment proposes review of Carnival charters

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WASHINGTON -- An amendment inserted into a 2006-2007 Coast Guard Appropriations bill before the Senate (S. 1280) would require the Dept. of Homeland Securitys inspector general to review the Hurricane Katrina cruise-ship charter contracts.

According to the bill, which is wending its way through the approval process, the inspector general would verify the contract price was appropriate and reasonable and based on current, accurate and complete cost and pricing data.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) submitted the amendment Oct. 27 on behalf of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).

The inspector general would have nine months to review and report back to House and Senate committees with findings and recommendations, including possible legislative or regulatory changes or improvements to the contracting process immediately following a disaster.

Tim Gallagher, Carnivals vice president of corporate communications, said the line was confident the charter arrangement would stand up to any governmental review.

The U.S. government already has the right to audit the charters, he said. The contract between Carnival and the Military Sealift Command (MSC) is a standard U.S. government contract used by MSC, which gives the Comptroller General the right to audit the vessel charters.

To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].

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