The Concordia, Triumph and Splendor, of course, are all ships owned by Carnival Cruise Lines or its subsidiaries. And all three have turned their passengers’ dream trips into nightmares. HB80 is the Alaska Legislature’s capitulation to the threats of the cruise industry. Is WC the only one who sees a disconnect here?
The hulk of the Concordia still lies beached on her side, in sight of the west coast of Italy. On January 13, 2012, she ran aground with 3,229 passengers and 1,023 crew on board. 30 were killed in the accident; two are missing and presumed dead. The shipwreck is visible from space. The ship was a total loss.
The Splendor, on a cruise from San Diego en route to Ensenada, Mexico, became disabled after a fire erupted in an aft engine room on November 8, 2010. None of the nearly 4,500 vacationers and crew members aboard was injured, though several people reportedly suffered panic attacks. The Splendor was towed back to San Diego over the course of four days.
And now the Triumph, after yet another engine room fire, was completely disabled for five days while the ship and its 4,200 passengers and crews lived in Porta-Potty conditions as the ship was towed back to Mobile, Alabama.
As the former passengers on the Triumph take hot showers and try to wash the stink out, the Alaska Legislature is considering HB80, a bill which would lower the level of supervision and regulation of cruise lines like Carnival in Alaska waters. The bill has already passed the House.
With this kind of safety record does the Legislature think the cruise industry can be trusted to self-regulate? If they are this careless with ships that cost half a billion dollars each, you think they can be trusted to treat Alaska right? If the industry is this careless with its reputation, does the Legislature really think these companies will voluntarily comply with standards? Why would anyone think they will comply with standards in the absence of on-ship observers? The industry is a collection of scofflaws with a shocking record of fines for pollution violations. The Onion has it exactly right.
This is the reality: three ships dead in the water in less than four years. Three worst case scenarios. And the Legislature wants to let this industry self-regulate and self-inspect?
Why? Just, why?