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Carnival plans to pump $300 million into better emergency procedures

Apr 17, 2013 8:31 am

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Carnival needed to make a grand gesture to indicate it will do something to avoid the snafus that plagued the cruise line and its passengers this year. But make no mistake: This is $300 million in PR first and foremost.

— Samantha Shankman

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Carnival Corp., the cruise operator beset by mishaps at sea this year, will enhance emergency procedures across its 24-ship fleet in a program that will cost more than $300 million.

Carnival will increase emergency generator power across all its ships in the next few months and make investments in the newest technically advanced fire-prevention, detection and suppression systems, according to a statement from the Miami- based company today. The cruise operator will expand the availability of hotel services in the “rare instance of a shipboard event” that involves the loss of main power.

This month the Carnival Triumph broke loose from a dock in Mobile, Alabama, under heavy winds and two people were tossed into the water when a guard shack blew over. The ship was under repair after a fire and engine failure in February left 3,100 passengers adrift of the Mexican coast without working toilets and electricity. The Triumph debacle was the first of at least three incidents this year involving separate ships, including the Dream and Legend vessels.

“All of Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships operate safely today,” the company said in today’s statement. “However, by applying lessons learned through our fleet-wide operational review after the Carnival Triumph fire and by taking advantage of new technologies, we have identified areas for enhancement across our operations.”

Carnival rose 0.3 percent to $33.41 at 9:31 am in New York. The shares had dropped 9.4 percent this year through yesterday compared with a 10 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Editors: James Callan and Niamh Ring.

To contact the reporter on this story: Niamh Ring in New York at nring@bloomberg.net. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net.

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