Why Isn’t The Panamanian Navy Saving The Carnival Splendor?

Obviously we want to make sure the U.S. citizens are safe, but this is not an American ship nor is Carnival an American company. In fact Carnival does pretty much everything in its power not be American… except when convenient.

The Carnival Splendor is dead in the water. A fire below decks has neutered the ship leaving it a 952 foot long raft. No one is happy especially the nearly 3,000 passengers.

Right now the US Navy and Coast Guard are working hard to assure the safety of the Splendor and its passengers. This is not a cheap undertaking which raises the question: Why are we doing this?

Obviously we want to make sure the U.S. citizens are safe, but this is not an American ship nor is Carnival an American company. In fact Carnival does pretty much everything in its power to not be American… except when convenient.

Though Carnival’s operations are headquartered in Miami and London Carnival itself is incorporated in Panama. Its ships are all registered outside the United States in what are referred to as flags of convenience. Carnival Splendor is registered in Panama even though it’s seldom if ever there.

There are many American laws ships which use our ports must follow. Because the Splendor and its sisters are registered in Panama there are many others it’s under no obligation to follow.

I’m sure there are Americans employed on these cruise ships which primarily carry Americans to-and-from American ports, but as a Carnival cruiser I can’t remember any.

I am irked by this. If you depend on the strength and wealth of the United States to run a viable business the least you can do is be an American company.

Is Carnival doing anything that violates the law? Probably not. The law is an ass.

9 thoughts on “Why Isn’t The Panamanian Navy Saving The Carnival Splendor?”

  1. Irked? I think if you were on that ship, you would rather have the United States Coast Guard coming to help you, instead of relying on the Panamanian Navy. And just let Carnival pick up the cost.

    Joe – I’m really not saying we shouldn’t help at this moment. I’m saying the cruise lines are gaming the system.


  2. This is what every cruise line does. You have to cruise out of Vancouver to get to Alaska. It is because of the Jones Act, if the ship sailed between two American ports it would have to contend with higher taxes as well as be American owned, crewed by Americans and contructed in the US, google it. It is supposed to help support the US maritime industry, but in reality does the opposite.

    The US Navy is going to help, that is what the US does. This is somewhat similar to when the Australian Navy “rescued” Abby Sutherland. She isn’t an Australian citizen and she wasn’t on an Austrailian bessel. She was in “distress” and the Navy was following maritime code. Just like Aussies did, the US is not going to charge Carnival.

    Jeff – Alaskan cruises must leave from Vancouver when they’re one way. You are correct. However, roundtrip Seattle cruises are OK as long as there is a Canadian port.

    Of course the Navy will help, but don’t you think we’re being used?


  3. Often confused, it is not the Jones Act – (Merchant Marine Act of 1920)-
    that is involved here. It is the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA)of 1886.
    The Jones Act involves commerce between two U.S. ports, while as the name implies, the PSVA covers passenger transport between two U.S. ports.
    All the info is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchant_Marine_Act_of_1920 also known as the Jones Act
    and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_Vessel_Services_Act_of_1886

  4. If Carnival picks up the tab I have no big problem. But won’t happen. My problem goes to the fact that as a foreign owned company that doesn’t have to follow most US laws, the cruise lines don’t have to adhere to basic workers rights in pay, health care, benefits. Cruise ship workers are worked like dogs for ungodly hours a week at low pay not counting tips. The justification I’ve gotten while cruising in the past is that it’s still more than they could make at home. Thats the same excuse used in sneaker factories in Vietnam.

  5. Yes, Tom is correct. I was unaware of the differentiation for cargo and passenger vessels.

    As for workers rights, they can always not work there.

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