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  1. 1. An Ethical Triumph?PR Ethics Case Study of the Carnival Triumph Ashley Crockett-LohrPR 605
  2. 2. About the Carnival TriumphO Carnival Triumph entered service for Carnival Cruise Lines in1999.OCarnival Triumph is registered as a Bahamian vessel. ThoughCarnival Cruise Lines has its headquarters in Florida, many ofthe cruise lines vessels are registered in countries other thanthe U.S. (like the Bahamas or Panama) because regulationsare less stringent and they dont have to pay U.S. taxes.O The vessel is 893 feet long, and it holds up to 3,143passengers and 1,086 crew members.OThe ships home port is in Galveston, TX, and its voyages tothe western Caribbean are usually four or five days in duration.
  3. 3. Timeline of EventsOThursday, Feb. 7 Carnival Triumph departs Galveston, TX for four-day Caribbeancruise.OSunday, Feb. 10 Fire breaks out in Carnival Triumphs engine room. Though thefire is extinguished, it disables the ships propulsion system, knocks out some of thepower, and leaves the vessel adrift in the Gulf of Mexico. Carnival Cruise Linedispatches tugboats to pull the stranded vessel to shore in Progreso, Mexico.O Monday, Feb. 11 Carnival Cruise Lines abandons original plan to tow CarnivalTriumph to Progreso, Mexico because the vessel has drifted north 90 miles due toGulf loop currents (see next slide). Officials tell tugboats to head toward Mobile, AL.O Tuesday, Feb. 12 Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival CruiseLines, issues a statement apologizing for the crisis, announces plans to arrangetravel for all passengers, and commits to compensating the individuals aboard theship.O Thursday, Feb. 14 Carnival Triumph arrives in Mobile, AL at 9:15 p.m. CT.
  4. 4. Triumphs Journey Home
  5. 5. Carnival CorporationsTroublesome PastCarnival Corporation and its cruise linebrands (particularly Carnival Cruise Linesand Costa Cruises) have experiencednumerous disasters similar to the engine fireon the Carnival Triumph in recent years.Three of the most noteworthy incidents(other than the Carnival Triumphs) tookplace on Carnival Splendor, CostaConcordia, and Costa Allegra.
  6. 6. Carnival CorporationsTroublesome Past2010 Carnival Splendor An engine fire left the Carnival Splendor stranded in thePacific Ocean without power. The Splendor was pulled by tugboats to San Diego Bay after three days.
  7. 7. Carnival Corporations Troublesome Past2012 Costa ConcordiaIn this recent tragedy, Captain Francesco Schettino ran hisItalian cruise ship into a reef off the coast of Tuscany, Italy,toppled the ship onto its side, and caused 32 deaths.
  8. 8. Carnival Corporations Troublesome Past2012 Costa Allegra An engine fire knocked out power in this Costa Cruisesvessel, leaving it adrift in the pirate-infested Indian Ocean. After three days of towing, the ship arrived safely in Seychelles.
  9. 9. What is Ethics?Ethics is concerned with what constitutesright and wrong human conduct, values,beliefs, and attitudes in light of a specific setof circumstances. The best time forindividuals to consider the ethics of theirbehavior is while they are selecting a courseof action and before they actually take theaction.Warren Plunkett, Raymond Attner, and Gemmy Allen Management: Meeting and Exceeding Customer Expectations
  10. 10. What is Ethics?OEthics is not one-size-fits-all. Each persons individual moralcode is comprised of unique values and beliefs. Morality, inturn, shapes a persons belief of ethics, of whats right andwrong.O Business is a team effort. Though people come with their ownbackgrounds and moral codes, a business must level the fieldby defining a single, unified ethical standard for its employees.OThis is where a code of ethics comes in. Many professionsestablish codes of ethics to offer concrete guidance on trickysituations and foster clear understanding of what is expectedof professionals in these situations.
  11. 11. PRSA Code of EthicsThe PRSA code of ethics shares values that guide behavior and decision-making of public relations practitioners and individuals acting in a publicrelations or crisis communications role. The code focuses on these six values:O ADVOCACY Acting as responsible advocates for those we represent andproviding a voice in the marketplace of ideas.OHONESTY Adhering to the highest standards of accuracy and truth.OEXPERTISE Acquiring and responsibly using specialized knowledge andexpertise. Advancing the profession and building mutual understandingamong a wide array of institutions and audiences.OINDEPENDENCE Providing objective counsel to those we represent andbeing accountable for our actions.OLOYALTY Being faithful to those we represent while honoring ourobligation to serve the public interest.OFAIRNESS Dealing fairly with clients, employers, competitors, peers,vendors, media, and the public. Respecting all opinions and supporting freeexpression.
  12. 12. Carnival Corporations Response to Past DisastersIn the case of the Carnival Splendor, Carnival Corp. reimbursedpassengers for the amount of the cruise and arranged (and paidfor) transportation home for every passenger. In addition,passengers on Carnival Splendor received a voucher for a freecruise of equal value.This type of compensation (offering a voucher for a future cruise inlieu of monetary compensation) was typical in a time where enginefires were relatively common, when passengers were unharmed,and before the Costa Concordia disaster. In it, PR practitionersshowed a great deal of loyalty to the cruise line (in minimizingadditional costs while also incentivizing future cruising) while alsodemonstrating some fairness in reimbursing passengers andpaying for transportation.
  13. 13. Carnival Corporations Response to Past DisastersThe Costa Concordia crash changed things for the cruise industry.For the first time since 1915 (when the S.S. Eastland tipped over inport and killed 800 people), a cruise accident resulted in deaths. Itbecame clear that these disasters were not just mere matters ofinconvenience; cruise line accidents could cost lives.Carnival Corporation made several mistakes in the ethical handlingof the Costa Concordia crisis that have changed the way theyrespond to future disasters, like that of the Carnival Triumph.According to the guidelines set by Robert Solomon and KristineHanson, Carnival Corporations mistakes were in not consideringother peoples well-being and not thinking of themselves and thecompany as a part of the whole.
  14. 14. Carnival Corporations Costa Concordia MisstepsOBefore Carnival Corporation announced their compensation plans forpassengers of Costa Concordia, rumors circulated that the cruise linewould offer passengers 30 percent off future cruises. This sparked amedia firestorm that Carnival had to fight to contain. These rumorsmade the cruise line appear like they were minimizing the damagecaused by the disaster and that they valued profits more than the well-being of their passengers.O Instead of apologizing for the fatal disaster, Carnival Corporation gotensnared early on in a blame game with the captain. Though the captainwas clearly at fault for abandoning the ship, the cruise line shouldvealso taken more responsibility for the passengers well-being from theoutset instead of getting caught up in finger-pointing.
  15. 15. Carnival Corporations Costa Concordia MisstepsOA few days after the Costa Concordia crash, Carnival Cruise Linesannounced they were taking a break from social media. While someunderstood the sentiment, in this social-media-driven society, it actuallymade Carnival look like they were avoiding and ignoring the publicsresponse. In this action, Carnival Cruise Lines acted out of its own self-interest instead of as a part of the greater society.OCarnival Corporations CEO, Mickey Arison, also was hard to findduring this crisis, instead letting its Costa Cruises line be the public face.Though the ship was a Costa Cruises vessel, the line was still owned byCarnival Corporation, so the leader of the parent company should haveat least made a statement of condolence to the families who lost a lovedone. This hiding from the media made Carnival seem like they were onlylooking out for themselves and not the greater good of the industry andsociety.
  16. 16. Carnival Corporations Response to Past DisastersIn the end, survivors of the Costa Concordia received the following:O Refund of the entire cost of the cruise and of all on-board purchases made during the cruise.O Reimbursement of travel expenses home as well as medical expenses incurred as a result of the crash.O $14,500 in a lump sum to each uninjured passenger, including nonpaying children.O Program of psychological assistance for surviving passengers who need it.This compensation package was far more substantive than that ofpast disasters like the Carnival Splendor, and it set the stage forfuture crisis response from Carnival Corporation.
  17. 17. Carnival Corporations Response to Past DisastersIn the case of the Costa Allegra, Carnival Corp. refundedpassengers the full amount of the cruise and arranged travel homefor every passenger. In addition, the company reimbursedpassengers for all on-board purchases made during the cruise andoffered indemnity equivalent to the cost of the cruise andassociated travel costs.This was the first time Carnival Corporation offered monetarycompensation for an engine fire disaster in which there were noinjuries, and this approach was clearly impacted by the high-visibility case of the Costa Concordia. It is also noteworthy thatCarnival Corporation did not offer a voucher for a free cruise. Indoing so, PR practitioners demonstrate more of an interest inindependence and fairness to the customers than loyalty to thecruise line.
  18. 18. Spotlight on Carnival Triumph
  19. 19. Carnivals ResponseOQuick to act. Carnival Cruise Lines dispatched a tugboat to theTriumph bef