Carnival Offers Ships as Floating Hospitals During Coronavirus Pandemic

Carnival says it will make ships available as temporary hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Struggling cruise ship operator Carnival (CCL) - Get Report, which has seen its shares pummeled during the coronavirus pandemic, said Thursday it will make vessels from its global cruise line brands available as temporary hospitals during the crisis.

Shares of the world's largest leisure travel company were surging 10.3% to $10.75.

The Miami-based company said the ships include such brands as Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia.

"With the continued spread of Covid-19 expected to exert added pressure on land-based healthcare facilities, including a possible shortage of hospital beds," the company said in a statement, "Carnival Corporation and its brands are calling on governments and health authorities to consider using cruise ships as temporary healthcare facilities to treat non-Covid-19 patients, freeing up additional space and expanding capacity in land-based hospitals to treat cases of Covid-19."

Interested parties will be asked to cover only the essential costs of the ship's operations while in port, Carnival said. 

If needed, cruise ships can be quickly set up to serve as hospitals with up to 1,000 hospital rooms that can treat patients suffering from less critical, non-coronavirus conditions. These ships could provide up to seven intensive care units in the ship's medical center equipped with central cardiac monitoring, ventilators and other medical devices, the company said. 

Carnival recently paused operations across its fleet of ships based in North America through April 9. The company has said it was unable to provide an earnings forecast, though does expect to post an operating loss for its fiscal year ending Nov. 30.

Carnival said Monday it was taking additional actions to offset the unprecedented impact the coronavirus onslaught has had on its business, including cutting costs and pursuing an additional $3 billion in financing to boost liquidity.