(Meredith) -- The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure launched an inquiry Friday into Carnival's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. This marks the first national investigation of travel companies related to the virus.

The chairman of the House committee sent a letter to Carnival President and CEO Arnold Donald on Friday requesting internal documents related to Carnival's response to the coronavirus pandemic. The committee is also trying to "gain a better understanding of how Carnival intends to protect passengers and crew once vessels resume sailing," according to the letter.

Carnival cruise ship

Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Ecstacy cruise ship is docked at the Port of Jacksonville amid the coronavirus outbreak on March 27, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Wall Street Journal published an investigative article Friday suggesting that executives at Carnival and other cruise lines were aware of the risks of the coronavirus and continued to sail anyway.

While Carnival is not the only cruise line affected by the pandemic, it had more confirmed cases of COVID-19 than other cruise lines. According to the committee's letter, at least nine of Carnival's ships had an outbreak of COVID-19, resulting in more than 1,500 confirmed cases and at least 39 deaths.

Two cruise ships that made headlines amid the pandemic were the Diamond Princess and the Grand Princess, which are operated by Princess Cruises, a subsidiary cruise line of the Carnival Corporation. Combined, the ships had more than 800 COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths.

Copyright 2020 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

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