Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Princess Cruises': Coronavirus Negligence (February 12, 2020-Present)

19 crew members with coronavirus kept on Grand Princess cruise ...
Grand Princess sailing into quarantine

The Case
The COVID19 or coronavirus pandemic has struck the entire world. The virus has stopped businesses in their tracks and caused a major loss of revenue and production. One of the major industries affected due to the virus is the cruise line industry. Princess Cruise Lines operated two ships at the start of the pandemic where more than 800 passengers were infected with the virus. The Grand Princess cruise ship left California on February 12th, 2020. One passenger, Michael Dorety, began developing COVID19 symptoms on the Grand Princess cruise ship. His wife, Susan, called the ship’s emergency number multiple times before a doctor came to see him. They prescribed him Tylenol and Tamiflu which did not help his symptoms. Susan Dorety begged the ship to let him off to receive proper care. After two days, they let him off the ship and the CDC asked why he was not brought in sooner. Michael tested positive for the coronavirus and died days later. Susan is attempting to sue Princess Cruise Lines claiming they were negligent in their response to the outbreak. The cruise line did not test more than 60 passengers from the previous Diamond Princess voyage who were exposed to the coronavirus and had stayed on board. Many other families and workers of cruise lines are attempting to sue the companies for negligence.
Individualism Theory
The Individualism theory states the only goal of business is to profit, the only obligation a person has is to maximize profit for the owner. This duty must be achieved by the employees while abiding by laws. Another requirement is that the company needs to be truthful. The company should be trying to make the best products possible. While the cruise line is not making a product they should be attempting to provide a safe and enjoyable experience to the passengers. The cruise lines in this situation were maximizing profit and they were abiding by the laws. “Our response throughout this process has focused on the well-being of our guests and crew within the parameters dictated to us by the government agencies involved and the evolving medical understanding of this new illness," the company said in a statement. At the time of the cruise, there was no restrictions on business in the USA, therefore the cruise line was still abiding by the law. Susan Dorety argues there were 60 passengers from the previous voyage who were exposed and stayed aboard the ship. The new passengers were not told about the possibility that there were exposed passengers on board which could be a sign the company was not truthful. The Individualism theory would therefore not approve of Princess Cruise Lines actions.
Utilitarianism Theory
            The Utilitarianism theory states that the only thing of intrinsic value is happiness or pleasure. This theory essentially means that the less negative outcomes there are, the better. Princess Cruise Lines were attempting to make people happy by letting events still go on while aboard the ship. Every passenger was excited to be aboard and therefore happy to be going on a vacation. Would the passengers have been happy if the cruise line had cancelled? That is unknown. In hindsight, the cruises should have been cancelled and passengers would have understood given the circumstances we know now. At the time of the cruises the coronavirus was not a significant threat in the US, although, it was known anyone traveling would be at risk. Now that we have seen the aftermath of the virus we know the cruise lines did not make the passengers happy and therefore the cruise lines did not abide by the utilitarianism theory.
Kantian Theory
What Have Scientists Learned About COVID-19 And Coronavirus By ...
Diamond Princess at port after virus struck
            The Kantian ethical theory principles include acting rationally, allowing and helping people to make rational decisions, respecting people/their autonomy/individual needs and differences, and to be motivated by good will. To act rationally is to act consistent with your own actions and do not consider yourself exempt from the rules. Kant's belief to allow and help people make rational decisions means to give people all the necessary information they need to make a rational decision instead of being misled. To be motivated by good will is to do what is right because it is the right thing to do rather than for money or another purpose. Another main concept of Kant’s theory is his Formula of Humanity which states to never treat others merely as a means but always as ends in themselves. Unfortunately, Princess Cruise Lines did not inform the new passengers that there would be people from the previous voyage on board which puts them at a higher risk. Passengers would most likely not have been as comfortable boarding the ship given this information. The cruise line did not cancel which was all in all the wrong thing to do as the risk of a untreatable sickness at this point is not worth the reward of a cruise. The cruise line also went against the Formula of Humanity by clearly using the passengers as a means to an end rather than treating them as ends themselves. The cruise line did not take extra precautions to make the passengers safe and because this all they went against Kantianism.
Virtue Theory
           Virtue Theory has a four main ideas such as courage, honesty, temperance, and justice. 
Princess Cruise Lines did not show courage as they did not take it upon themselves to cancel any trips and therefore lose profit. The company was also not honest and transparent with the risk of the virus aboard these ships. The cruise line did not show temperance as they ignored the risks presented and focused on the profits they would be making off of the trips. The company went against every aspect of the Virtue theory.
Justified Evaluation
Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Has 65 More Coronavirus Cases : Goats ...
Passengers in quarantine on Princess Cruise
            The cruise lines overall should have done more research on how to prevent the virus from spreading which would have resulted in these cruises being cancelled. The cruise line was focusing on government restrictions which were not yet in place meanwhile they should have been making decisions for themselves to cancel the cruise. I believe it was difficult to make the decisions at the time because the virus was still so new. It is tough for the cruise lines to gain the knowledge they need to make an educated decision while not shutting down operations which move so quickly. With the information we know now, I would say the cruise line made a horrible decision by not cancelling the voyages as soon as the outbreak began. I don’t believe the cruise lines were making entirely selfish choices to not cancel due to the fact that no one knew what exactly the virus is and there was no way to tell how much of an impact it would make on our society. The passengers themselves knew the same information the cruise lines did at the time and therefore are also at fault.
Action Plan
            For the future, the Princess Cruise Lines should come out with the following statement, “We strive to provide our passengers with the most safe and enjoyable experience on the water. With the knowledge we have, we vow to shut down operations the moment a new threat is apparent.” This statement will show the customers they have changed the way they will continue to operate. The customers safety and enjoyment will always be the cruise lines first priority. Princess Cruise Lines should also move forward with hiring more medical staff and properly equipping their ships to handle more severe illness. Following these steps will allow the cruise line to make a strong comeback once the industry is back on the sea.

Will Risko

Works Cited
Allen, Greg. “Even With COVID-19 Cases, Suing Cruise Lines Is 'Extraordinarily
Difficult'.” NPR, NPR, 22 Apr. 2020, www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/22/840525310/even-with-covid-19-cases-suing-cruise-lines-is-extraordinarily-difficult.

Madani, Doha. “Old Maritime Rules Pose Obstacles to Lawsuits from Princess Cruise
Passengers.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 17 Apr. 2020, www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/old-maritime-rules-pose-obstacles-lawsuits-princess-cruise-passengers-n1185791.

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