Arison on Costa Concordia Wreck: “I Am Very Sorry It Happened”

The Carnival Corp. CEO told The Miami Herald, in his first interview on the accident, that he didn't feel he needed "to get in front of a camera"

Carnival Corporation boss Micky Arison expressed sorrow about the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster Friday, while telling The Miami Herald, in his first interview on the accident, that he remained in Miami to handle his company’s brands afterward to avoid becoming a distraction in Italy.

Arison responded to criticism about his lack of visibility after the Jan. 13 disaster. He released statements and posted tweets, but said he did not feel he needed “to get in front of a camera.”

“Obviously, I am very sorry it happened,” the Carnival chairman and CEO told the Herald. “When you have 100 ships out there, sometimes unfortunate things happen, but as I said, it was an accident. We as a company do everything we can to encourage the highest of safety standards.”

At least 25 people died after the Concordia struck a reef off the island of Giglio on the Tuscan coast, and seven others are missing and presumed dead. Its captain is under house arrest in Italy. Francesco Schettino is accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the ship before all of the 4,200 passengers and crew were evacuated, and he has denied the charges.

Costa Crociere, which owns the ship, is a unit of Miami-based Carnival Corp. The Costa Cruises line took a public relations and financial beating after the wreck, with bookings dropping dramatically. But Arison told the Herald Friday that Costa will remain a Carnival brand.

He said he has “a lot of faith” in Costa CEO Pier Luigi Foschi and his staff.

“I believe they’ll work their way through this. It was a terrible, terrible, terrible accident, but that’s what it was,” said Arison, who also owns the Miami Heat.

Arison also spoke publicly about the Concordia accident earlier Friday during Carnival’s first-quarter earnings call, when it reported a net loss of $139 million. It made $152 million during the same period a year ago.

Removing the capsized Concordia from the Mediterranean will take about a year once it begins, Costa Crociere said Friday. The company is considering six salvage proposals.

Another Costa ship, the Allegra, was left without power in the Indian Ocean after a generator room fire in late February. It will not reenter service, the Herald reported.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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