Owner of Capsized Ship Is World’s Largest Cruise Line

Posted January 17th, 2012 at 3:35 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

U.S.-based Carnival Corporation, the owner of the luxury cruise ship sinking off the Italian coast and th world’s largest cruise line, faces millions of dollars in losses from the accident and perhaps years of litigation over damage claims.

Carnival is based in the southern city of Miami, Florida and annually attracts about half the world’s 15 million sea-going tourists to its 101 ships. The corporation runs 11 cruise lines, including some of the best known global brands — Carnival, Cunard, Holland America, Princess and others.

In the U.S., its chief executive, Micky Arison, is perhaps best known as the owner of one of the country’s top professional basketball teams, the Miami Heat with its star player, LeBron James. He took over as Carnival’s chief executive three decades ago and has steadily expanded the company through acquisition of individual ships and competing cruise lines.

The company has blamed the capsizing of the Costa Concordia on human error, saying that the ship’s route had been properly programmed, but that its captain made unauthorized changes in the course as the ship left an Italian port Friday night. At least 11 people are known dead because the wreck, with 24 still missing.

Carnival says it will have to pay at least $40 million in insurance deductibles to cover damages from the accident, while losing as much as another $95 million in revenue without the use of the 250-meter-long ship for an extended period, if it even can be salvaged. The company said it “anticipates other costs” that are not yet possible to estimate.

The accident, with pictures of the sinking ship broadcast around the world, sent Carnival’s stock value plunging nearly 14 percent Tuesday to near a 52-week low of less than $30 a share. Arison owns about 29 percent of Carnival and one analyst estimated that he lost about a half billion dollars of his personal fortune in the day’s trading.