February 19, 2018 / 6:14 AM / 9 months ago

Carnival probes security personnel's response to brawl in South Pacific cruise

* 23 people were removed from cruise due to brawl

* Australian police say inquiries continuing

By Jonathan Barrett

SYDNEY, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Carnival Corp, the world's largest cruise operator, said on Monday it was investigating the response of its security personnel to a brawl that broke out on one of its South Pacific cruises that resulted in 23 passengers being removed.

The American-British company said in a statement that it was investigating "all aspects including the security response" of the incident, which was captured on video and posted on social media.

The 10-day cruise to the South Pacific returned to the Australian southern city of Melbourne on Saturday, a day after 23 people were removed in the New South Wales (NSW) town of Eden for what the company described as "disruptive and violent acts".

"The level of excessive behaviour experienced on the cruise was unprecedented," the Carnival statement said, referring to the passengers who were removed from the cruise. "We have apologised to guests who were directly affected by it," it said. The statement did not say when the investigation will be concluded.

Carnival has offered passengers a 25 percent "cruise credit" on future trips.

A NSW police spokeswoman told Reuters on Monday that inquiries were continuing with no charges laid yet.

The video on social media shows passengers brawling with each other and with security officers. A Carnival spokesman said the company could not confirm the veracity of the video.

Several passengers who got off the cruise in Melbourne, including Michael Haddara and Jacob Summers, told local media on Saturday that the security staff made matters worse.

Companies and their brands can suffer reputational damage from the actions of their employees. Last April, United Airlines reached a settlement for an undisclosed sum with a passenger who was dragged from a Chicago flight.

Videos of the passenger, Dr. David Dao, being dragged down the aisle of a United jet and the company's handling of the incident touched off a public outcry and even prompted calls from congressmen for new industry regulation. (Reporting by Jonathan Barrett in SYDNEY; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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