Carnival to Spend Millions on Safety Measures

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Published April 17, 2013

| FOXBusiness

Carnival (CCL) plans to invest $300 million to enhance emergency power capabilities and fire safety technology on its namesake cruise ships, the company said Wednesday.

Carnival Cruise Lines said it will improve operations to prevent the loss of primary power and install additional electricity backup systems that will keep services like cooking and food storage operational. The cruise line will put an additional emergency generator on all its 24 vessels within the next several months. Fire systems will also get an upgrade.

In addition, Carnival said it will expand the availability of hotel services for guests in the event of a “shipboard event that involves the loss of main power.”

“All of Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships operate safely today. Each vessel already has effective systems in place to prevent, detect and respond to emergency situations, and we meet or exceed all regulatory requirements,” Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, said in a 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, the world’s largest cruise ship operator, has a 101-ship fleet that includes 10 cruise lines, such as Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises.

The company said its entire fleet was put under an ongoing operational review after the Costa Concordia ran aground off the coast of Italy, killing 32 people. The overall program to make improvements across the entire fleet, including Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships, is expected to cost between $600 and $700 million.

Earlier this week, Carnival said it will reimburse the U.S. government for the cost of the aiding two vessels that were stranded this year.

Miami-based Carnival has experienced a number of ship malfunctions this year, one of which made headlines in February when 3,100 passengers were stranded on a ship that was left adrift in the Gulf of Mexico.

The same ship, the Triumph, was being repaired earlier this month at a port in Mobile, Ala., when high winds caused it to break loose from its moorings.

Shares of Carnival were down 11 cents at $33.20 in late morning trading Wednesday.

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