The Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia continued sinking Tuesday, and the fortune of its owner Micky Arison also took a dive.
Arison, who owns both the Miami Heat and Carnival Cruise Lines, whose fleet includes the Costa Concordia, lost hundreds of millions as Carnival's shares plummeted in London Monday and in New York Tuesday.
Shares of Carnival (CCL), worth $47 a year ago, were already in decline before the accident; they had closed Friday at just over $34 and ended at $29.60 at the close of trading Tuesday. The loss wiped out more than $500 million from Arison's 29 percent stake, according to Forbes.
However, money was the last thing on Arison's mind when he spoke to the Guardian.
At this time, our priority is the safety of our passengers and crew, said Arison. We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and our hearts go out to everyone affected by the grounding of the Costa Concordia, and especially to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives. They will remain in our thoughts and prayers.
Wyn Ellis, an analyst at Numis Securities, said Carnival fell over fears that the shipwreck will prevent people from booking cruises for summer holidays. According to Ellis, about a third of cruise bookings are made between January and March.
People will cancel, and others will look at alternatives, he said. There will, justifiably, be questions about the adequacy of management and emergency operational procedures on board, which may have longer-term cost implications.
Tim Ramskill, an analyst at Credit Suisse, said other factors will affect booking as well.
This tragedy will be a black mark on the cruise industry and a negative headline for Carnival, Ramskill said. If the industry didn't already face enough challenges, this unfortunate event will reverberate on the group over the near term. While these accidents are extremely rare, the extensive media coverage will likely curtail some booking activity and pressure pricing during the critical season.
Carnival said the Costa Concordia wouldn't be operable until at least November and put initial estimates of the cost at $95 million. However, analysts said the final amount is likely to be greater.