Thursday, February 20, 2014

Carnival Cruises: Poor Conditions & Staff (2012)

Carnival Cruises ship advertisement

Carnival Cruises has shown in the last few years in Italy and America to have immature pilots and beaten up ships. Aside from the instance of the pilot of one Carnival ship grounding and rolling the vessel while impressing the woman in his life, there is another instance involving unraveling of one flexible fuel line in a diesel generator on the Triumph. Drew Griffin and Scott Bronstein of CNN have described the story with reference to generator hoses, the generators of the Triumph, and the generator fire hazard that accrued nine hot spot fires for Carnival's ships. According to Griffin and Bronstein, the Triumph's "poop" cruise from 2013 began with a 66.7% power supply and mixtures of bilge plates and ramparts covering flexible fuel lines. The Triumph was stated to defy the sea legislation for generator longevity and used assumptions in regards to flexible fuel lines being shielded adequately by structures on each vessel instead of custom made parts (Griffin and Bronstein). The stakeholders and players of this thirteen month-removed incident are Carnival, the passengers, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Lloyd's insurance. The Carnival Company's "poop" cruise involving the Triumph from 2013 is going to compete against the economic theory, virtue theory, utilitarianism, and Kantianism in the rest of this blog.

Oddly enough there are two ways in which Carnival did not violate Friedman's Economic model of corporate social responsibility ("the role of business management is to maximize profits within the law") (Desjardins 53). The CNN article by Griffin and Bronstein mentioned above proves in paragraph fifteen that Carnival was acting in accordance with Friedman's theory: "On January 2, Carnival issued a compliance order, giving ships two months to address the problem to "ensure a suitable spray shield ... is installed" for all diesel engines using the flexible fuel lines" (Griffin and Bronstein). Still, Griffin and Bronstein exemplify that the maintenance of the sixth diesel generator and Triumph's body of fuel lines were against the legislation that Carnival needed to follow in its market institution, which ultimately is disjointed with the quotation "within the law" from the definition of the economic theory. Carnival was assumed to be maximizing profit because of the 300 million dollar generator reinforcements established by Griffin and Bronstein: "While Carnival Cruise Lines insists that what happened on the Triumph was just an accident, the company has dedicated $300 million in a fleet-wide safety upgrade, focusing on detecting and preventing any potential fire hazards in its engine rooms."

Author Joseph Desjardins defines Utilitarian ethics in the following sentences from his ethics textbook:
". . . social institution. . . Utilitarianism tells us that we can determine the ethical significance of any action by looking to the consequences of that act. Utilitarianism is typically identified with the policy of "maximizing the overall good"
the economy exists to provide this highest standard of living for the greatest number of people, not to create wealth for a privileged few (29-30).
Passengers spelling out "HELP" on Carnival Triumph

In compliance with Desjardins definition, more specifically the final sentence, Microeconomics in Context states that "a market institution is a body that brings buyers and sellers together and coordinates their actions" (Goodwin et al, 56). Because Carnival fulfills Goodwin (market institution) and Desjardins (economy) and that four thousand people encountered feces in January 2013, Carnival's actions can be subjected to this quotation from Desjardins: "Good and bad acts are determined by their consequences" (Desjardins, p. 30). The actions of Carnival to not maintain generator six, partially guard against leaks on generator six, and to have 66.7% of generator usefulness on Triumph are violations of Utilitarianism because they provided profit for the Miami management of Carnival and no well-being for 4,000 humans. Jim Walker (maritime lawyer) even mentioned on his website "Millions to the wealthy defense lawyers but not a penny more to the guests" (Walker). Desjardins also states that "In general, utilitarian position is that happiness is the ultimate good" (Desjardins, p. 30). The CNN article that is mentioned in every paragraph included in its own introduction a passenger's two sentences: "It was repulsive. It was a nightmare" (Griffin and Bronstein). 

A definition of Kantianism is included in the paper Kantian Business Ethics: "As members of humanity, we each have value that stems from our rational and moral capacities and we all ought to act so as to show appreciation for that value" (Salazar, 1-3). In addition, Kantian Business Ethics defines the Formula of Universal Law (Kant's first formulation, the Formula of Universal Law, uses the rule of consistency to eliminate those maxims that are internally inconsistent, or impossible to will if everyone willed them) and the Formula of Humanity ( ". . . , it eliminates using ourselves without the consent of our rationality and it prohibits our use of other people without the consent of their rationality. This is not the same thing as getting someone‟s consent, since a person can give his or her consent without giving her rational consent"(Salazar, p. 3-4). Also, Microeconomics in Context states that "Rather than construing rational processes just as something that helps actors move in the direction of their goals, the model (neoclassical) assumes that actors behave with perfect rationality" and that "The basic traditional model also assumes perfect information" (Goodwin et al, p. 49). Goodwin and the three other contributors defined perfect rationality as well: "the assumption that actors can optimize, arriving at the decision that maximizes profit or utility" (p. 49). This is further proven from Goodwin's definition of perfect rationality. The four thousand passenger could not maximize utility from Goodwin's definition because of the hot spot combustion, which is proven by phrases "Human waste was actually piling up in bags just outside their door" and "Just on our deck alone, there were the biohazard bags lined up across the floor (quotation from Bettina Rodriguez)" (Griffin and Bronstein). The Formula of Humanity proves that Carnival's possible maxim "We will not maintain the diesel generators of all cruise ships and send each one out with 66.7% generator usefulness after receiving payment from 4000 passengers," which is hypothesized from the actions aboard the Triumph, is inconsistent in will.

Virtue Theory
Passengers aboard Triumph make
shelter outside to avoid stench inside
The final ethical theory to be used in discussing Carnival's "poop" cruise is that of virtue theory, which Carnival was able to succeed in two of the four virtues to be mentioned. Desjardin's definition is as follows: "An ethics of virtue seeks to develop the character traits and habits that will lead us to live a meaningful and happy human life" and lists four virtues of honesty, integrity, modesty, and trustworthiness (Desjardins, p.42-45). Since the definition of integrity is to "adhere to moral and ethical principles (," the Carnival company did not have integrity of virtue theory because of its losses in competition with utlitarianism, Kantianism, and Friedman's economic theory. Additionally, the virtue of trustworthiness from Desjardin's definition of virtue theory is disproved because of Carnival's bilge plate defending on the Triumph. Bronstein and Griffin mentioned how the governing bodies of the Carnival company had assumed bilge plates would serve as fuel line shielding. The article said how the sixth generator was not maintained and did not have custom shields and/or bilge plates for all hoses. Carnival's management adhered to honesty in Desjardin's definition of virtue theory and did not have an example of modesty from the CNN article by Griffin and Bronstein. The Carnival company's Miami management was honest based on the information from Griffin and Bronstein. Griffin and Bronstein injected the quotation from the ship engineer "Starting more than a year before the infamous cruise, that generator was overdue for maintenance, often not in compliance with the safety laws of the sea, known as SOLAS, according to the ship's engineer", nine hot spot fires due to flexible fuel lines accrued in twenty-four months, the unraveled fuel line on the "poop" cruise was six months aged, and that assumptions were made by officials regarding bilge plate and custom shielding for the sixth generator's flexible fuel lines.

Griffin, Drew, and Scott Bronstein. "CNN Exclusive: Documents Show Carnival Knew of Fire Danger before Ill-fated Cruise." CNN. Cable News Network, 18 Dec. 2013. Web. 17 Feb. 2014. <>.

Ackerman, Frank, Neva Goodwin, Julie A. Nelson, and Thomas Weisskopf.Microeconomics in Context. Armonk, NY: Sharpe, 2009. Print.

DesJardins, Joseph R. An Introduction to Business Ethics. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2014. Print.

Walker, Jim. "Cruise Law News : Maritime Lawyer & Attorney : James M. Walker : Walker & O'Neill Law Firm : Admiralty Law, Cruise Ship Accidents & Injuries." Carnival Fights Losing PR Battle After Incriminating Poop Cruise Documents Surface : Cruise Law News. N.p., 19 Dec. 2013. Web. 18 Feb. 2014. <>.

Salazar, Heather. "Kantian Business Ethics." 1-6.

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