Carnival Cruise Ship Contract

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Carnival's C-E-O is defending his company's 236 (m) million-dollar contract with the federal government to use cruise ships to house hurricane victims.

Micky Arison is denying reports that the vessels are mostly empty.

U-S Senators Tom Coburn and Barack Obama are asking Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to explain the contract with the Miami-based company.

The senators allege the contract guaranteed Carnival rates that were much higher than market levels. The company has said it doesn't expect to make a profit on the deal.

The C-E-O spoke today at a cruise industry convention and said they asked the federal government to make up for the revenue that they would've made with the ships in operation. Arison said he was proud they took the ships out of normal service on short notice for hurricane victims.

Workers rushed to cancel the cruises for 100-thousand passengers. But the C-E-O said it was worth it to help first responders.