PortandTerminal.com, March 23, 2020
#CODVIDIOTS – The hashtag’s name speaks for itself – stupid information and things people are saying and doing in response to the COVID19 pandemic. Today’s hands-down winner is Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corp.
MIAMI, FL – Look, we get it. Arnold Donald is the CEO of Carnival Corp, the world’s largest cruise line company, so he has to fight his corner. But to come out NOW with some of the ridiculous statements he made in a recent interview about cruise ships role in the coronavirus pandemic wins him the #COVIDIOT award of the day.
Three stupid statements
In a new interview with Axios on HBO, the Carnival Corporation CEO Donald 1) downplayed the risk of catching COVID19 on a cruise ship, 2) asked for government funds to prop up the industry AND 3) defended his company’s decision to continue cruising — with deep discounts — after the State Department explicitly warned against it.
“U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship.”United States Department of State
We say, three strikes and you’re out Mr. Donald. How will anyone ever be able to trust a word you say in future?
Carnvial Corp at the very center of COVID19
Making matters even more surreal is that the fact that several of the cruise ships in Mr. Donald’s Carnival fleet were caught up in quarantines as passengers and crew on board became sick with the virus. 712 passengers on board the Diamond Princess contracted the virus, 8 of whom died.
President Trump was right
President Trump was right when he said on March 13th via Tweet that the cruise industry is a “great and important industry” as he announced the industry’s painful 30-day pause. The cruise industry provides thousands of jobs, much-needed tourism revenue to the port cities its vessels call upon and enjoyment to millions of passengers every year.
But it is also a deeply flawed industry that was already facing numerous pressures long before COVID19 appeared on the scene.
For the industry to bounce back it needs to reflect upon the fact that its massive, polluting vessels are increasingly unwelcome in a growing number of the world’s port cities. COVID19 has only made them even less welcome as guests.
As the market leader in the cruise line industry, Carnival Corp should be taking the lead in addressing the challenges the industry faces. We suspect that that was what Mr. Donald had intended to do when he granted the interview to Axios.
But Donald’s tone-deaf, ill-timed and insensitive messaging made it clear that he is not the man to lead the cruise industry to whatever its future will look like after this pandemic is behind us.
With its share price at a record low, and its immediate future uncertain, there is little doubt that Micky Arison, Chairman of the Carnival Corp board is asking himself the same questions about Donald’s leadership.
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