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    BIOTERRORBIBLE.COM: Recent terror drills, war-games, propaganda, plots and patsies all indicate that cruise ships may be targeted with bio-terror in the very near future. Like an island, a cruise ship is a controlled environment whereby the “terrorists” could unleash a deadly biological attack for the entire world to see. Passengers would likely upload photos and video of the dead and dying onto social media sights as the pandemic on the ship begins to spread, ultimately causing panic and fear worldwide.  

    The RAND Corporation, the U.S. Congress, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security all state in their white papers that cruise ship terror is coming and that America is not prepared. RAND goes as far as stating that the most deadly way for terrorists to attack is with a nuclear or biological device. Obviously, nobody would see a nuclear attack on a ship at sea, so a biological attack appears to be what is being planned. White papers are issues by governments to create plausible deniability and to psychologically prepare the public for an impending terror attack.  

    Title: Seaports, Cruise Ships Vulnerable To Terrorism
    Date: July 28, 2001
    Source:
     Politics OL

    Abstract: As a multi-mission, maritime, military service within the Department of Transportation, the Coast Guard is a leader in ensuring America's maritime security. As a lead agency for seaport security, we provide a valuable service to the American people by making the nation safer, cleaner, more mobile, and more secure. ...

    U.S. trade is expected to more than double by the year 2020. The Interagency Commission on Crime and Security in U.S. Seaports identifies a lack of adequate security for our critical Marine Transportation System (MTS) infrastructure, which can potentially affect our entire economy. We don't think often enough of our maritime ports as security threats. But, as indicated in the Interagency Report on Crime and Security in U.S. Seaports, our maritime borders are more porous and have lower security levels when compared to our airports and land borders.

    Recent history shows us that, throughout the world, terrorists target transportation. All of us remember the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, and the deliberate derailment of Amtrak's Sunset Limited -- each an example of an attack against a transportation target.

    Ridership on cruise ships has increased exponentially over the past ten years. Ten years ago, a cruise ship of 70,000 gross tons was the largest in the world. Today, we have an entire class of cruise ships that exceed 140,000 gross tons. These new mega-ships carry upwards of 5000 passengers and crewmembers. A successful terrorist attack on any one of these ships could result in a catastrophic number of casualties, and threaten the economic viability of the entire industry.

    Just last week, Coast Guard units in Miami, along with the FBI, responded to a bomb threat against a cruise ship capable of carrying approximately 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crewmembers. The ship implemented their security plan, a plan required by the Passenger Vessel Safety Act - to prevent the threat from being realized. We successfully ensured the safety of the passengers, crew, vessel, and port as a whole.

    Who can say what would have happened had we not responded as we did, or if the cruise line personnel had not followed their well-prepared plan?

    The same security activities used to prevent a terrorist attack also aid in preventing criminal acts such as smuggling of illicit drugs, contraband and stowaways; trade fraud and commercial smuggling; environmental crimes; cargo theft; and the unlawful exportation of controlled commodities, munitions, stolen property, and drug proceeds. This same security provides for secure ports in support of military deployments and national defense.

    In addition to the traditional physical security threats, the information age brings with it new vulnerabilities. We need to protect our critical information systems as well as our physical infrastructure.

    As we modernize our transportation infrastructure by integrating technology with automation, we also make their associated information systems more interdependent and interconnected. These systems become declared targets for attacks by hackers and cyber-terrorists. Someone intent on disruption, or destruction, of the flow of sensitive operational information contained in our transportation management systems will cause crippling damage. Consequently, we face a significant challenge to ensure our information systems are protected from those who would cause harm, and yet remain accessible to our customers -- the traveling public, commercial transportation operators and government agencies alike.

    The MTS is especially vulnerable to crime and terrorism because of the scale, complexity, and pace of activity in our ports. The task of protecting our transportation system is complex and requires close coordination between our regulatory, intelligence, and law enforcement organizations. Effective deterrence, prevention and response activities affecting U.S. transportation assets and programs must be coordinated between federal law enforcement authorities, the Coast Guard, state and local officials, and the transportation community. The willingness of intelligence and law enforcement agencies to share threat information with the Coast Guard greatly enhances our ability to work with the transportation industry to increase security awareness and, if necessary, implement security countermeasures.

    The reports from the Interagency Committee on the Marine Transportation System (ICMTS), the Marine Transportation System National Advisory Committee (MTSNAC), the 1999 Report to Congress on the U.S. Marine Transportation System (MTS), and the Interagency Commission on Crime and Security in U.S. Seaports contain recommendations for improving security that will require additional resources for implementation. Both the ICMTS, chaired by the Coast Guard, and MARAD's MTSNAC are discussing many of these security issues and beginning to coordinate efforts ranging from national defense and terrorism to theft and our economic security.

    Examples include implementing infrastructure improvements to allow for interagency systems integration, and pursuing the "model port concept" through which best practices by marine terminal operators are shared, and voluntary minimum-security guidelines are developed. These groups are working to balance security imperatives and the increasing need for a fast and efficient U.S. transportation system, a key contributor to the country's overall economic prosperity. To the extent there are resource implications, they must be weighed against other priorities in the context of the overall budget.

    In summary, the Coast Guard is encouraged that seaport security concerns are receiving national attention. It is not my intent to instill fear or alarm in anyone today. But the sobering reality is, because we live in a country that prides itself on the openness of its democracy, we are always at risk of a terrorist attack. Therefore, it is very important that we address the issues of security and crime in seaports now. If we do, we can assure our national security and our ability to keep our nation's transportation system the very best in the world (Politics OL, 2001)

    Title: National Environmental Assessment: U.S. Visit Implementation At Passenger Cruise Ship Ports Of Entry 
    Date: November 2003
    Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security 

    Abstract


    (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2003)

    Title: EXCLUSIVE: Cruise Ships Are Terror Target 
    Date: October 12, 2005
    Source: The Mirror 

    Abstract: URGENT action needs to be taken to stop al-Qaeda attacking cruise liners and oil tankers, Tony Blair has been warned.

    Maritime security is the weak link in the defence against another 9/11-style outrage, says an international agreement on combating terror.

    The document, agreed by the Prime Minister and more than 30 other world leaders, said more must be done to lessen the "serious" risk of an attack at sea.

    The warning comes after pirates attacked luxury cruise liner Seabourn Spirit off the coast of Africa last month with guns and rockets.

    Security sources fear the raid could inspire terrorists to launch a Christmas spectacular against a passenger ship causing mass casualties. A security source told the Mirror: "Al-Qaeda has the aim of targeting weak links in the global economy.

    "Given most of the 80 million barrels of oil the world uses every day is transported by sea, shipping is a high-value, low-risk target." Experts have warned that cruise ships with up to 5,000 passengers could be sunk by a small number of terrorists.

    And suicide assaults against oil tankers could be made using small speedboats packed with explosives.

    Such an attack in the English Channel - the world's busiest shipping lane - would cause economic damage and be an environmental disaster.

    The Euro-Mediterranean Code of Conduct on Countering Terrorism, agreed last month in Barcelona, said: "We must lessen our vulnerability to attack." EU chiefs are looking at increasing naval patrols, spot checks and tougher port controls. A major push will be made next year to get Gulf states to sign up.

    The International Maritime Organisation is also to urge UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to take the issue to the Security Council (The Mirror, 2005)

    Title: Maritime Terrorism: Risk And Liability
    Date: 2006
    Source: RAND 

    Abstract: Policymakers have become increasingly concerned in recent years about the possibility of future maritime terrorist attacks. Although the historical occurrence of such attacks has been limited, concerns have nevertheless been galvanized by recognition that maritime vessels and facilities may (in some respects) be particularly vulnerable to terrorism. In addition, some plausible maritime attacks could have very significant consequences, in the form of mass casualties, severe property damage, and attendant disruption of commerce. Understanding thenature of maritime terrorism risk requires an investigation of threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences associated with potential attacks, as grounded both by relevant historical data and by intelligence on the capabilities and intentions of known terrorist  groups. Assessment of the risks associated with maritime terrorism can help policymakers and private firms to calibrate and prioritize security measures, prevention efforts, and mitigation plans.

    The risks associated with maritime terrorism also provide the context for understanding government institutions that will respond to future attacks, and particularly so with regard to the U.S. civil justice system. In principle, civil liability operates to redistribute the harms associated with legally redressable claims, so that related costs are borne by the parties responsible for having caused them. In connection with maritime terrorism, civil liability creates the prospect that independent commercial defendants will be held responsible for damages caused by terrorist attacks. Liability is thus a key aspect of the government’s institutional response to terrorism, because (1) it creates strong incentives for private-sector prevention and mitigation efforts, (2) it serves as
    a foundation for insurance to spread related risks, and (3) it defines the scope and likelihood of compensatory transfer payments from firms to victims.

    Th is book explores the nature of maritime terrorism risks associated with a limited set of attack scenarios involving passenger and container shipping. The book also examines U.S. civil liability rules as they may apply in the context of these types of attacks.

    Risk Assessment: Threat, Vulnerability, and Consequences


    Our analytic strategy for addressing the risks associated with attacks on passenger and container shipping began from a broad assessment of related threats and vulnerabilities, based on a combination of historical data regarding previous attacks, and on a series of interviews with counterterrorism experts. We then investigated the likely consequences that would follow from different modes of attack, drawing on historical data and publicly available analyses, and by framing those consequences in terms of human effects (e.g., casualties), economic effects (e.g., property damage and business disruption), and intangible effects (e.g., political and governmental responses). Finally, we combined the information on threat, vulnerability, and consequences to generate estimates of relative risk, in connection with attack scenarios involving ferries, cruise ships, and container shipping. Our qualitative method for generating these risk estimates involved the use of defined ordinal scales to assess terrorists’ intents and capabilities, target vulnerabilities, and attack consequences. This method is described in detail in the
    appendix.

    With regard to attacks on ferries, our findings suggest that onboard bombings present the greatest combination of threat and vulnerability among the specific types of assaults that we considered. In terms of consequences, all of the attack modes targeting ferries involve roughly comparable estimates of potential economic harm, but on-board bombings are projected to be somewhat less invidious in inflicting human casualties than two other modes of assault bombing, and ramming attacks involving improvised explosive devices [IEDs]). 

    With regard to attacks on cruise ships, we considered a broader range of likely attacks, and found that on-board bombings,
    followed by standoff artillery assaults and food or water contamination scenarios, present the greatest combination of threat and vulnerability. Once again, all of the attack modes targeting cruise ships involve roughly comparable estimates of potential economic harm, but parasitic bombings, ramming attacks with IEDs, and biological attacks (i.e., those involving contamination of a ship’s food or water supply) are projected as presenting somewhat greater potential for harm in the form of human casualties.

    With regard to attacks on containerized shipping, we note that cargo vessels themselves are attractive primarily as a means to transport weapons or to sabotage commercial operations more broadly, rather than as a direct target for terrorist assaults per se. This being said, most scenarios we considered had comparable combinations of threat and vulnerability. The economic consequences associated with any maritime assault that shuts down operations at a major U.S. port could be severe. A dirty-bomb attack perpetrated using an illicit cargo container presents the greatest combination of likelihood and expected economic harm. 

    In terms of human consequences (i.e., casualties), most container shipping scenarios present a low likelihood of inflicting such harms, and the prospect of relatively modest human consequences even where that likelihood is realized. Perhaps most notably, container shipping scenarios involving nuclear detonations are less likely than the other scenarios we considered, but could entail far greater potential consequences in both human and economic terms (RAND, 2006).

    Title: Maritime Security: Potential Terrorist Attacks And Protection Priorities
    Date: May 14, 2007
    Source: CRS Report for Congress 

    AbstractA key challenge for U.S. policy makers is prioritizing the nation’s maritime security activities among a virtually unlimited number of potential attack scenarios. While individual scenarios have distinct features, they may be characterized along five common dimensions: perpetrators, objectives, locations, targets, and tactics. In many cases, such scenarios have been identified as part of security preparedness exercises, security assessments, security grant administration, and policy debate.

    There are far more potential attack scenarios than likely ones, and far more than could be meaningfully addressed with limited counter-terrorism resources. There are a number of logical approaches to prioritizing maritime security activities. One approach is to emphasize diversity, devoting available counterterrorism resources to a broadly representative sample of credible scenarios. Another approach is to focus counter-terrorism resources on only the scenarios of greatest concern based on overall risk, potential consequence, likelihood, or related metrics. U.S. maritime security agencies appear to have followed policies consistent with one or the other of these approaches in federally-supported port security exercises and grant programs. Legislators often appear to focus attention on a small number of potentially catastrophic scenarios.

    Clear perspectives on the nature and likelihood of specific types of maritime terrorist attacks are essential for prioritizing the nation’s maritime anti-terrorism activities. In practice, however, there has been considerable public debate about the likelihood of scenarios frequently given high priority by federal policy makers, such as nuclear or “dirty” bombs smuggled in shipping containers, liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker attacks, and attacks on passenger ferries. Differing priorities set by port officials, grant officials, and legislators lead to differing allocations of port security resources and levels of protection against specific types of attacks. How they ultimately relate to one another under a national maritime security strategy remains to be seen.

    Maritime terrorist threats to the United States are varied, and so are the nation’s efforts to combat them. As oversight of the federal role in maritime security continues, Congress may raise questions concerning the relationship among the nation’s various maritime security activities, and the implications of differing protection priorities among them. Improved gathering and sharing of maritime terrorism intelligence may enhance consistency of policy and increase efficient deployment of maritime security resources. In addition, Congress may assess how the various elements of U.S. maritime security fit together in the nation's overall strategy to protect the public from terrorist attacks.

    Conclusion

    Public information suggests that the threat of maritime terrorism is significant, and can take myriad forms, but that different dimensions of the nation’s maritime security activities prioritize these activities in different ways. As oversight of the federal role in maritime security continues, Congress may raise questions concerning the relationship among these activities, and the implications of differing terrorism scenario priorities among them. Improved gathering and sharing of maritime terrorism intelligence may enhance consistency across various U.S. maritime security activities and increase the efficient deployment of maritime security resources.

    In addition to these issues, Congress may assess how the various elements of U.S. maritime security fit together in the nation's overall strategy to protect the public from terrorist attacks. For example, bulk quantities of hazardous chemicals are found in marine vessels, in rail and highway tankers, and in chemical facilities on land. Terrorists may seek to exploit such chemicals in any of these sectors. Balancing the nation's homeland security resources across the maritime and non-maritime sectors is a policy challenge because specific sectors may fall under different homeland security authorities and regulations. Uncertainty about terrorist capabilities and activities complicates this problem by making it difficult to compare terrorist attack scenarios across sectors. Without such a comprehensive perspective on terrorist threats, security analysts may have difficulty identifying which assets to protect and how well to protect them with the limited security resources available. Reviewing how these security priorities and activities fit together to achieve common goals could be an oversight challenge for Congress (CRS Report for Congress, 2007)

    Title:
     U.S. Department Of Homeland Security: Cruise Ship Passengers Will Be Fingerprinted

    Date: April 24, 2008
    Source: Cruise Bruise 

    Abstract
    The United States Department Of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced plans to begin a policy of fingerprinting cruise ship passengers at U.S. cruise ship terminals before they board.

    The loophole in the new policy excludes American citizens from the policy, making it easy for criminals on the run, known sex offenders and others posing a threat to the cruise ship passenger population to board the ships and continue to elude law enforcement.

    With only a fraction of passengers embarking from U.S. ports required to submit to fingerprinting, the delays and cost to passengers is still thought to be extensive.

    The proposal calls for cruise lines and airlines, not the U.S. government to pay for the cost of fingerprinting and processing is due to the fact that the U.S. government will be outsourcing the process.

    DHS says the new regulations are a "quantum leap" in homeland security. I agree. It is a quantum leap back to the past, not to the future.

    Currently, U.S. government agents collect visitors' fingerprints as they enter the U.S., and it was anticipated that government agents, not private sector employees, would collect the fingerprints when the program expands to include people leaving the country. This puts fingerprints in the hands of common citizens working in the travel industry.

    The new requirement is suppose to go into effect in June of 2009. There is a sixty day period for the airlines and cruise company's to protest the new policy and the protests are flooding in.

    Given the biggest threat to passengers and ship safety, for cruises embarking at U.S. ports, has been U.S. citizens, this half-baked policy will do very little to protect passengers from those who pose the largest risk.

    A browse of Cruise Bruise confirms, that nearly all the cases of crimes aboard ships embarking from U.S. ports, where the crimes were committed by passengers, were all Americans or legal American residents. 

    The crimes committed by non-Americans were almost always by crew who had already been fingerprinted and given C1D1 work visas. They from a minority of the cases compared to passenger crimes.

    Other crimes committed by passengers who were not American, were mostly from ships embarking from foreign ports, to non-American destinations. DHS has no control over those passengers. 

    While I'd love to see the cruise lines pay for crime prevention, this new DHS policy does nothing to really protect Americans aboard ships embarking from our cities. It is a toothless policy aimed at given a false sense of security (Cruise Bruise, 2008) 

    Title: Somali Pirate Threat Forces Cruise Ship Evacuation
    Date:
     December 9, 2008
    Source:
     Fox News 

    Abstract: A cruise ship will evacuate passengers before sailing past the Somali coast and fly them to the next port of call to protect them from possible pirate attacks, German cruise operator Hapag-Lloyd said Tuesday.

    An official with the European Union's anti-piracy mission said separately that it would station armed guards on vulnerable cargo ships — the first such deployment of military personnel during the international anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

    The MS Columbus cruise ship will drop off its 246 passengers Wednesday at the Yemeni port of Hodeidah before the ship and some of its crew sail through the Gulf, the Hamburg-based cruise company said in a statement.

    The passengers will take a charter flight to Dubai and spend three days at a five-star hotel waiting to rejoin the 490-foot vessel in the southern Oman port of Salalah for the remainder of a round-the-world tour that began in Italy.

    Hapag-Lloyd said the detour was a "precautionary measure," given rampant piracy off the coast of lawless Somalia that recently has targeted cruise ships as well as commercial vessels, including a Saudi oil tanker carrying $100 million in crude and a Ukrainian ship loaded with tanks and other weapons.

    Pirates last week fired upon the M/S Nautica — a cruise liner carrying 650 passengers and 400 crew members — but the massive ship outran its assailants. Other ships have not been so lucky. Pirates have attacked 32 vessels and hijacked 12 of them since NATO deployed a four-vessel flotilla on Oct. 24 to escort cargo ships and conduct anti-piracy patrols.

    The Hapag-Lloyd cruise company planned the detour for its passengers in order to heed a German Foreign Ministry travel warning, after the German government denied the cruise company's request for a security escort through the Gulf, company spokesman Rainer Mueller said. As long as the travel warning is in effect, he said, "we won't travel through the Gulf of Aden with passengers."

    A U.S. Navy official said, however, that while the danger of a pirate attack was significant, it was not advising ships to avoid transiting the Gulf.

    "We are advising all ships to transit through the international traffic corridor within the Gulf of Aden," said Lt. Nathan Christensen, a Bahrain-based spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, referring to a security corridor patrolled by the international coalition since August.

    Some 21,000 cargo ships a year — or more than 50 a day — cross the Gulf of Aden, which links the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean, international agencies have said. The growing chaos in impoverished Somalia, which has had no effective government for nearly two decades, has allowed an Islamic insurgency to flourish in the country while speedboat bandits attack ships offshore.

    The EU launched its anti-piracy mission five days early on Tuesday, before it takes over for the NATO ships next Monday. The EU mission will involve six ships and up to three aircraft patrolling at any one time, and will station armed guards aboard the most vulnerable cargo vessels, such as ships transporting food aid to Somalia, according to the British naval commander in charge of the mission.

    "We would seek to place vessel protect detachments on board World Food Program ships transiting to Somalia," British Rear Admiral Philip Jones told a news conference in Brussels. "They are the most vulnerable ships of all, and the best deterrence is achieved by having such a detachment on board."

    The NATO anti-piracy mission has also focused on escorting the U.N. aid agency's chartered vessels, helping some 30,000 tons of humanitarian aid reach Somalia since Oct. 24.

    In addition, about a dozen other warships from the U.S. 5th Fleet based in Bahrain, as well as from India, Russia and Malaysia and other nations are patrolling in the area.

    The Russian navy will soon replace its warship in the region with another from a different fleet, navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said Tuesday in Moscow.

    The missile frigate Neustrashimy, or Intrepid — deployed from Russia's Northern Fleet after pirates seized the Ukrainian ship in September — has helped thwart at least two pirate attacks, Dygalo said. It will remain in the region through December and be replaced by a ship from Russia's Pacific Fleet.

    Jones welcomed an offer from Japan to contribute a vessel to the one-year EU mission. It is the European Union's first naval endeavor, though the bloc has conducted 20 peacekeeping operations.

    Britain, France, Greece, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands will contribute at least 10 warships and three aircraft, with contingents rotated every three months (Fox News, 2008).

    Title:
     Arrest Made In Cruise Ship Threats
    Date: February 11, 2009
    Source: CBS News 

    Abstract: A woman faces terrorism-related charges accusing her of planting threatening notes aboard a cruise ship in hopes of halting a family trip so she could return home to her boyfriend.

    Because of the notes, the cruise of the Legend of the Seas was interrupted last week so the FBI could question passengers.

    Kelley Marie Ferguson of Laguna Hills, Calif., appeared in federal court Monday on two counts of violating terrorism laws. She was arrested Saturday. A hearing is set for Thursday.

    Ferguson, 20, of Laguna Hills, Calif., admitted penning two notes threatening to kill all U.S. citizens aboard the Legend of the Seas if the ship, which had sailed from Ensenada, Mexico, stopped at an American port, U.S. Attorney Edward Kubo said.

    The discovery of the threats last Tuesday and Wednesday in the same sixth-deck public restroom led authorities to reroute the ship to an anchorage off Honolulu so FBI could search the vessel and question its 2,400 passengers and crew members. The diversion canceled the ship's scheduled stop at Hilo.

    More than 120 members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force scoured the Royal Caribbean ship for biological, chemical, radiological and explosive weapons, officials said.

    During the investigation, Ferguson admitted writing the notes, Kubo said.

    "The defendant said she never wanted to go on this cruise ship with her family to begin with and that she wrote these notes hoping that it would shorten her time on the cruise," Kubo said.

    The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Kubo said his office also would seek restitution for the cost of the investigation (CBS News, 2009).

    Title: Cruise Ships May Be Required To Hand Over Passenger Reservation Data
    Date: May 13, 2010
    Source: Homeland Security Newswire 

    Abstract
    : Security experts worry about a waterside attack using a waterborne improvised explosive device; such an attack could conceivably come while the ship was in transit or docked at port; to address this worry, DHS will require cruise ships departing and entering the United States to provide Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with passenger reservation data

    Cruise ships departing and entering the United States may be required in the future to provide Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with passenger reservation data because of terrorism concerns, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

    Matthew Harwood writes that in a recent report on cruise ship security, the GAO recommended that CBP study the cost and security benefits of requiring the cruise ship industry to provide automated Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to the agency for passenger screening purposes. DHS, the CBP’s parent organization, agreed and responded that the agency would conduct the study and determine whether the program should be implemented.

    Harwood notes that the idea is to bring the same attention to detail to screening cruise-ship passengers that already exists for airline passengers. International airlines are already required to submit PNR information to the CBP as part of its mission to prevent terrorists and their weapons from entering the United States.

    Currently, cruise ships departing or entering the United States only submit passenger manifests for CBP to check against terrorist watch-lists and the National Crime Information Center database.

    CBP officials told GAO investigators that PNR data provides a fuller picture for better targeting of high-risk passengers, including those with suspected terrorist ties. “[PNR] data may include, among other things, a passenger’s full itinerary, reservation booking date, phone number, and billing information, which is not usually available in the manifest data,” reports the GAO.

    A representative from the Cruise Lines International Association told GAO investigators that the industry would comply with the program if CBP required them to do so, although the representative did not know if such a rule would hurt reservation rates. In 2008, 9.3 million passengers departed the United States on board cruise ships, according to the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration.

    Officials across DHS believe cruise ships could be a terrorist target, but a recent intelligence report from the U.S. military’s National Maritime Intelligence Center (NMIC) in January found no credible terrorist threat to cruise ships existed in 2009.

    Nevertheless, the NMIC pointed to the 1985 terrorist hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship by four terrorists from the Palestinian Liberation Front as evidence that terrorists could target these vessels. After the four terrorists took control of the cruise ship off of Egypt, they executed Leon Klinghoffer — a 69-year-old, wheelchair-bound American Jew — and dumped his body and wheelchair into the sea.

    Harwood writes that the big fear for homeland security officials has nothing to with terrorists finding their way on board a cruise ship though. What they dread most is a waterside attack using a waterborne improvised explosive device. Such an attack could conceivably come while the ship was in transit or docked at port. In 2000, two al Qaeda members rammed the U.S.S. Cole in the port of Aden with a explosive-packed 35-foot-long boat, killing themselves and seventeen sailors.

    Cruise ships, however, are considered strong, resilient vessels, reports the GAO. “Coast Guard officials stated that cruise ships are built to sustain various types of attack scenarios and keep passengers safe until they are able to be rescued, and that a very large hole in the hull would have to occur to cause any significant damage to the ship” (Homeland Security Newswire, 2010).

    Title: MARITIME SECURITY: Varied Actions Taken To Enhance Cruise Ship Security, But Some Concerns Remain
    Date: April 2010
    Source:
     United States Governmnet Accountability Office 

    Abstract


    Why GAO Did This Study

    Varied Actions Taken to Enhance Cruise Ship Security, but Some Concerns Remain Highlights of GAO-10-400, a report to the Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security, House of Representatives Over 9 million passengers departed from U.S. ports on cruise ships in 2008, and according to agency officials, cruise ships are attractive terrorist targets. GAO was asked to review cruise ship security, and this report addresses the extent to which (1) the Coast Guard, the lead federal agency on maritime security, assessed risk in accordance with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) guidance and identified risks; and (2) federal agencies, cruise ship and facility operators, and law enforcement entities have taken actions to protect cruise ships and their facilities. GAO reviewed relevant requirements and agency documents on maritime security, analyzed 2006 through 2008 security operations data, interviewed federal and industry officials, and made observations at seven ports. GAO selected these locations based on factors such as the number of sailings from each port. Results of the visits provided additional information on security, but were not projectable to all ports.

    What GOA Found
    The Coast Guard has assessed the risks to cruise ships in accordance with DHS guidance—which requires that the agency analyze threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences—and, with other maritime stakeholders, identified some concerns. Specifically, agency officials reported in January 2010 that there had been no credible threats against cruise ships in the prior 12 months, but also noted the presence of terrorist groups that have the capability to attack a cruise ship. The Coast  Guard, cruise ship and facility operators, and law enforcement officials generally believe waterside attacks are a concern for cruise ships. Agency officials and terrorism researchers also identified terrorists boarding a cruise ship as a concern. The Coast Guard has also identified the potential consequences of an attack, which would include potential loss of life and economic effects.
    Federal agencies, cruise ship and facility operators, and law enforcement entities have taken various actions to enhance the security of cruise ships and their facilities and implement related laws, regulations, and guidance, and additional actions are under way. DHS and component agencies have taken security measures such as the Coast Guard providing escorts of cruise ships during transit, and CBP’s review of passenger and crew data to help target passenger inspections. Cruise ship and cruise ship facility operators’ security actions have included developing and implementing security plans, among other things. The Coast Guard is also in the process of expanding a program to deter and prevent small vessel attacks, and is developing additional security measures for cruise ships. In addition, CBP’s 2005-2010 Strategic Plan states that CBP should seek to improve identification and targeting of potential terrorists through automated advanced information. CBP, however, has not assessed the cost and benefit of requiring cruise lines to provide passenger reservation data, which in the aviation mode, CBP reports to be useful for the targeting of passengers for inspection. GAO’s previous work identified evaluations as a way for agencies to explore the benefits of a program. If CBP conducted a study to determine whether collecting additional passenger data is cost effective and addressed privacy implications, CBP would be in a better position to determine whether additional actions should be taken to augment security.

    Conclusion

    Given the number of passengers that travel on cruise ships each year and the attractiveness of these vessels as terrorist targets, it is important that the risk to cruise ships is assessed and actions are taken to help ensure the security of these ships and their facilities. Federal agencies and maritime security stakeholders, including cruise lines, have implemented various measures to better secure cruise ships and their facilities. As examples, the Coast Guard provides escorts for cruise ships to prevent waterside attacks and CBP screens passengers using manifest data to prevent terrorists from boarding cruise ships. Although these measures have been implemented and there has been no recent credible terrorist threat against cruise ships, this does not preclude the possibility of such an incident occurring in the future, particularly given the existence of terrorist groups that have the capability to attack a cruise ship. Moreover, the President’s 2010 memorandum directing DHS to aggressively pursue enhanced screening efforts further underscores the potential importance of this type of security action. By conducting a study to determine whether requiring cruise lines to provide automated Passenger Name Record data on a systematic basis is cost effective and addresses privacy implications, CBP would be in a better position to determine whether additional actions should be taken to augment security through enhanced screening of cruise ship passengers (United States Governmnet Accountability Office, 2010).  

    Title:
     Bomb Threat Hoax Delays Cruise Ship Return
    Date: March 28, 2010
    Source: WFTV

    AbstractA Carnival cruise ship was forced to stay off-shore due to a Sunday morning bomb threat that turned out to be a hoax.

    The Carnival Sensation received the bomb threat early Sunday morning as the ship was returning to Port Canaveral after a three-day cruise in the Bahamas.

    The ship stopped about four miles off shore and Carnival officials notified the US Coast Guard, FBI, Brevard County Sheriff’s and Brevard County Fire Rescue.

    Law enforcement boarded the ship and after conducting a search, determined the threat was a hoax, as no bomb was found.

    The Carnival Sensation was cleared to proceed to Port Canaveral at about 10:45 a.m.

    According to a statement released by Carnival Cruise Lines, a bomb threat was reported to the ship by a guest who claims another guest made the threat. Both guests were interviewed by law enforcement and the suspect accused of making the threat was arrested. The suspect has been identified as 31-year-old Ibrahim Zarou from Leesburg, Virginia.

    Approximately 3,470 passengers and crew members were aboard the Sensation at the time of the threat.

    Stay tuned to wftv.com and Eyewitness News for further updates on this story (WFTV, 2010).

    Title: Cruise Ship Receives Bomb Threat
    Date: May 17, 2010
    Source: WSVN News 

    Abstract: A bomb threat at sea caused a major scare for passengers aboard a cruise ship.

    A Royal Caribbean call center received a bomb threat to its Liberty of the Seas ship, Saturday afternoon.

    Officials investigated the threat, and crews did not locate any explosives after they conducted a thorough inspection of the watercraft.

    Liberty of the Seas arrived back in Miami, Sunday morning.

    The incident is currently under investigation (WSVN TV, 2010)

    Title: GAO Reports Waterside Attacks Threaten Cruise Ships
    Date: May 21, 2010
    Source: Security Director News 

    AbstractThe safety of thousands of passengers afloat on the open sea was the topic of a recent government report highlighting threats facing the nation’s cruise lines. The Government Accountability Office in its April report, “Maritime Security: Varied Actions Taken to Enhance Cruise Ship Security, but Some Concerns Remain,” estimated that more than 9.3 million passengers departed from 30 U.S. ports aboard North American cruises in 2008.

    The GAO determined that these cruise ships represent high-prestige symbolic targets for terrorists and evaluated the security measures in place to protect them. While the report emphasized that as of January 2010 the National Maritime Intelligence Center had no evidence of credible terrorist threats against cruise ships, waterside attacks are of utmost concern for cruise ships.

    Charlie Mandigo, director of fleet security for Holland America, with a fleet of 14 ships embarking on 500 annual cruises from 320 ports around the world, agreed that waterside attacks are a concern for cruise operators, but said there are multiple security measures in place to prevent such attacks. For example, when a ship enters a port, it is in immediate and constant communication with port authorities. Ports will often send out escort boats when the cruise ship enters the harbor and create exclusion zones around ships, preventing unknown vessels from nearing it. 

    Terrorist attacks aboard ships are also a threat cited in the GAO report. Mandigo said Holland America deploys stringent screening measures for both passengers and supplies boarding the ship. “We have the same type of security as an airport, using x-ray metal detectors, hand wands and, if necessary, pat downs for passengers,” he said. “Also, all goods are screened using canines, x-ray or other methods and that’s probably the most important component—controlling what can come onto the ship.” 

    The cruise line also has security personnel patrolling the boat. For a cruise with 2,000 passengers and a crew of about 700, Holland America has at least 10 full-time dedicated security officers who conduct screening, patrol the ship and monitor the ship’s CCTV and access control systems. 

    In addition to physical screening, cruise lines submit extensive passenger and crew member manifests to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to compare against terrorist watchlists and the National Crime Information Center database, to determine their potential risk to the United States or the cruise ship. 

    “We provide CBP with full access to our reservation system,” said Mandigo. However, he would like to see cruise lines have greater access to the government’s terrorist watchlists, similar to the access given to airlines. “Airlines have AQQ (APIS Quick Query) capabilities, which gives them a direct link to the CBP list of terrorists or prohibited list,” he said. “Cruise lines do not have access to it, but we’re looking at it and do have an interest in doing this.” 

    Another concern cited by the GAO was the threat based on the regularity of cruise lines’ schedules. “That’s something anyone can go on the Web site of a cruise line and access the itineraries and often, week after week, itineraries are repeated and that gives someone an opportunity for repeated surveillance,” said Mandigo. 

    While the report was largely positive, the advisory committee made several recommendations including: (1) developing and publishing a listing of prohibited items not allowed on board cruise ships; (2) developing equipment performance standards for screening detection equipment; and (3) developing standards for screening operations, training, and qualifications of persons engaged in screening activities at cruise ship facilities. 

    Also, the U.S. Coast Guard plans to develop new security regulations for cruise ships by 2011 in response to recommendations regarding cruise ship security measures made by the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee in 2006, according to the report. 

    Overall, Mandigo said he was pleased with the GAO’s assessment. “I thought it was a balanced report and there were no big surprises,” he said. “Everybody on the industry side and government side seem to be on the same wave length” (Security Director News, 2010)

    Title: DHS Cruise Ship Protection Efforts Given High Marks
    Date: July 2010
    Source: National Defense 

    Abstract: Cruise ships have been the targets of terrorist actions in the past, most notably the 1985 attack on the Achille Lauro, which resulted in the death of American passenger Leon Klinghoffer.

    Since then, there have been few incidents, and in a 12 month period from April 2009 to April 2010, the Government Accountability Office reported that there have been no known cruise-ship plots detected. That doesn’t mean that they don’t remain attractive, “high-prestige” targets, GAO said in a report, “Varied Actions Taken to Enhance Cruise Ship Security, but Some Concerns Remain.”

    There are some 9.3 million passengers departing from 30 U.S. ports every year on about 3,900 cruises. The largest ship holds about 8,500 customers and crew members. Israel foiled a plot against one of its cruise ships in 2005 and pirates off the coast of Somalia have made three unsuccessful attempts to take control of cruises, GAO noted. The economic impact of an attack in or around U.S. waters could severely damage the cruise ship industry, which was worth $19.1 billion to the U.S. economy in 2008, the report said.

    GAO, in a departure from most of its Department of Homeland Security reports, had little criticism for DHS. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration have responsibilities in ensuring the security of cruise ships, with the Coast Guard serving as the lead agency.

    The Coast Guard provides ship escorts and oversees companies’ compliance with security plans. CBP reviews documents of passengers arriving from foreign ports and inspects baggage. TSA provides screening equipment.

    “Despite the lack of evidence identifying recent threats, maritime intelligence officials identified the presence of terrorist groups that have the capability to attack a cruise ship,” the report said.

    Waterborne improvised explosive devices remain a concern among security experts, particularly small boats laden with bombs similar to the one that blew a hole in the side of the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000. Cruise ships often operate in areas where there are numerous small boats that are not scrutinized as often as larger vessels, the report noted. An armed takeover patterned on the Achille Lauro case is another possibility ships must be on guard against, as well as a biological attack where food or water is poisoned, the report noted.

    GAO only had one recommendation. It suggested that CBP conduct a study on whether it would be feasible for cruise ship companies to share passenger data with the DHS prior to a ship’s departure. Information collected at the time of a reservation is now routinely shared by the airline industry, but not for cruise ship passengers, it noted (National Defense, 2010).   

    Title: Somali Pirates: Eyewitness Account Of The Threat To Cruise Ships
    Date: September 17, 2010
    Source: Telegraph

    AbstractThe Filipino chef at the breakfast buffet was about to slide a couple of fried eggs on to my plate, and John Brocklehurst, the ship's captain, was in his private quarters on the bridge deck when the pirates appeared.

    Our cruise ship, the Discovery (operated by Voyages of Discovery cruise line), was making good progress from Mombasa over the glassy waters of the Indian Ocean towards the Seychelles when suddenly, in the bright sunshine of early morning, a speedboat came roaring in and stationed itself about 100 yards off the port side.

    The officer of the watch informed the captain and over the public address system came the "Code Purple, Code Purple" call. My eggs stayed on the hotplate as the Filipino crew members rushed to their emergency stations.

    Those passengers who were already up and out on deck – it was before 7am – were told to go to their designated "safe areas". Ironically, the practice drill had been scheduled for later this very morning, but suddenly it was for real.

    The speedboat was now parallel with us, its seven Somali occupants sussing us out as a potential target. They were armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers, clearly visible to the trained eye of one of my fellow lecturers, Brigadier Hugh Willing. We were about 200 miles off the Somali coast, so the pirates must have been operating from a "mother" ship, perhaps a captured Taiwanese fishing vessel, a few miles over the horizon. Captain Brocklehurst fired two warning shots with a flare gun to show the Somalis that he knew they were there. Slowly the speedboat fell astern of us and veered off westwards. The impressive defences on Discovery – rolls of razor wire all over the stern rail, bundles of logs to be released to fall on any craft attaching itself to our hull – must have deterred them.

    Aside from the few people at breakfast, not many of the 750 passengers saw the pirates. When news quickly spread of the threat, their reactions were mixed: some wished to disembark immediately; others took a more stoic view and reasoned that as the pirates hadn't attacked us it was rather a jolly drama that they could dine out on for some time to come.

    For less prepared ships, the danger could have been real. Unofficial figures show that 2009 was the most prolific year for Somali pirates, with more than 200 attacks and more than £30 million received in ransoms.

    The naval forces of several nations don't seem to deter them, however. The US Navy has some 15 warships stationed near Somalia, and Nato Response Force has up to 10 ships in these parts. But they seem to be hamstrung by the maritime rules of engagement – they can only intervene if they come across an act of piracy in progress. Even then, they often don't, as in the case of Paul and Rachel Chandler, who were seized by pirates from their yacht as they sailed from the Seychelles towards Tanzania on October 23 last year while a Royal Navy warship looked on, and have been held to ransom in Somalia ever since.

    Statement from Voyages of Discovery

    "The incident in question, which occurred in April, saw a small skiff operating as part of a group of three. The skiff left the other two and approached Discovery but never near enough to present a real threat. It then rejoined the other boats after a very short time. It remains unclear who was on board the boat and what its intentions were.

    "The safety of our guests remains our highest priority. Our crew members, security teams and procedures are capable of responding to a wide variety of challenges. All ships operating in an area with a perceived high risk of pirate activity follow standard maritime procedures. This includes being able to reach military vessels, which patrol the area, at a moment's notice should the need arise" (Telegraph, 2010)

    Title: How Safe Are We At Sea?   
    Date: 
    2011
    Source:
     Cruise Mates

    AbstractAnd although the world changed dramatically on September 11, one thing that has not been required to change as much as other aspects of travel is cruise ship security. That's because cruise ships have, for the most part, always adhered to very strict security guidelines and practices. While the cruise lines and governments around the world have tightened and refined security after the recent turn of events, cruise ships have always been relatively secure.

    As an avid and frequent cruiser, I decided to explore the subject. I talked to a number of people in the cruise industry and some in the U.S. government. Some things you'll find surprising, others you will not. If you're looking for real in-depth information about precautions, policies and tactics, please look elsewhere. It wouldn't be proper to discuss or divulge any information that is considered sensitive.

    Immediately after the terrorist attacks of September 11, cruise lines implemented what they call "Level 3" security measures, as outlined by the U.S. Coast Guard's "Security for Passenger Vessels and Passenger Terminals" regulations. These measures include:

  • Screening of all passenger baggage, carry-on luggage, ship stores and cargo; intensified screening of passenger lists and passenger identification; close coordination with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and other federal agencies to ensure that any passengers or crew suspected of being on the INS "Prevent Departure" list are promptly reported to the federal authorities.
  • Restricting access to any sensitive vessel areas, such as the bridge and the engine room.
  • Implementing onboard security measures to deter unauthorized entry and illegal activity.
  • Requiring all commercial vessels to give 96 hours notice before entering U.S. ports. Previously, ships had to give 24 hours' notice.
  • Maintaining a 100-yard security zone around cruise ships.

    Let's look at some of the basic fundamentals of cruise ship security.

    Controlled Access 

    One thing that contributes to the security of cruise ships is that it's relatively easy for them to move about and alter ports of call if any are deemed unsafe. Cruise ships are also relatively easy to "contain"--that is, it's easy to control and limit access to the ships. When a ship is in port, passengers and crew can only enter through one or two controlled access points, where ship's security personnel can check IDs, manifests and such. Because access to the terminals and docking areas is limited as well, it's relatively tough to get onboard if you don't belong there.

    Anti-Terrorism Measures 

    The greatest threat to passengers and the ships themselves is terrorism. Consequently, the cruise lines are taking preventive measures like security checks of all passengers, carry-on parcels and checked baggage. Unlike the airlines, which only x-ray 10 to 20 percent of all checked baggage, cruise lines have the time to thoroughly x-ray every bag that goes into the ship. All passengers and crew are now required to pass through metal detectors before boarding. The crew and port officials also examine every shipment of supplies that is brought aboard. When ships are in port, watches are posted on deck, and at night, the decks are lit and ropes are let in.

    The ships are also keeping records of who is aboard and not aboard at any given time, and most major lines now have automated systems that enable security personnel to see exactly who is on the ship at any given moment, at the touch of a button. Recently, when the Golden Princess departed the Azores for Fort Lauderdale, it happened that two passengers had suddenly disembarked the vessel without notice. At that point, the ship abruptly reversed course heading back for the Azores and the entire ship was searched from stem to stern. Eventually the staff realized that there was no threat and all was well.

    Trained Security 

    Security onboard varies from line to line and ship to ship. Some cruise lines hire former military and naval personnel to implement and oversee their security, whiles others hire private security firms or former law enforcement officers. In the past, most security measures were intended to deal with passenger disturbances, but the focus now is on maintaining a safe and secure environment, eliminating or minimizing the threat of harm to passengers, crew and ship. Some lines even have dedicated security personnel whose primary job is to assess the risk potential and work with onboard crew to make sure all the proper procedures are taken. Each port is reviewed for its history of security-related incidents, stowaway threat, contraband threat, shore-side security operations and equipment, and so on. Ship staffers are trained to recognize and deal with things like a crew member being in an unauthorized area, an unfamiliar face in a crew area, a passenger in an off-limits area, or a bag being found somewhere it

    Some lines carry security to extremes: Princess Cruises uses Gurkahs, the famed and extremely fierce Nepalese fighters of the British Army, for it's fleetwide security force. They have been in place for some time; at last report, there were at least six on both Grand Princess and Golden Princess.

    Passengers often ask if there are armed security personnel aboard. For obvious reasons, I cant answer that--but no one really wants to find out, do they?

    Big Brother is Watching

    Did you realize there are surveillance cameras all around you onboard ship? Security personnel, officers, staff and crew can visually monitor virtually ever area of the ship. There are cameras in the embarkation areas; corridors; public rooms; entry points to the "out of bounds" areas for passengers such as crew areas; machinery spaces; and even common deck areas such as the promenade and pool areas.

    Port Security Abroad

    Don't assume that foreign ports are any less secure, or security conscious, than North American ports. England, for instance, has laws that oblige the terminal owner/operator to take specific actions and provide certain equipment and procedures, and require the ship owner to take specific measures as well. As one cruise ship captain with a great deal of security experience told me, "European ports have always struck me as being more security conscious in general. When sailing from countries that have had previous land-based terrorist activities, there has been more active screening processes, identification checks, and a higher general awareness of port security. The general level of security in the European ports, both on the northern coast and on the Mediterranean coasts, has been fairly consistent. Most European countries have, unfortunately, been touched by terrorism. England has dealt with the IRA, Spain with the ETA and Germany, Greece, and others have all dealt with various threats."

    What to Expect Now

    Since September 11th, much stricter security measures have been in place to protect ships and their passengers.

    Every U.S. port now maintains and enforces a minimum 300-foot "no float zone," a security perimeter that prohibits private craft from coming near cruise ships. In addition, cruise ships are getting an armed U.S. Coast Guard escort in and out of port.

    There is also stricter access control to ports and terminals: Passengers are now required to show their tickets to enter both the port area and the terminal.

    Look for multiple security checkpoints: You can expect to pass through three or four security checkpoints before being granted access to your cruise ship.

    Cruise lines are working with local, state, federal and international authorities such as the port authorities where ships call, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the U.S. Customs Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Interpol. This will enhance the safety and security of everyone onboard cruise ships.

    Embarkation and debarkation may take longer to accommodate additional security procedures, so plan your flights accordingly.

    Expect strict enforcement of required ID and nationality/travel papers. Boarding will be denied if you don't have the proper documents.

    Don't expect to catch that early morning flight home. Passengers and lines have been reporting delays in disembarking passengers. In most cases, don't expect to be ashore before 9-10 a.m.

    Have patience. You may encounter some long lines as you wait to embark or disembark. Everyone is in the same boat, so keep your sense of humor and remember, it's for your own safety! (Cruise Mates, 2011)

  • Title: Coast Guard Responds To Bomb Threat Aboard Cruise Ship In Port Canaveral, Florida 
    Date: 
    February 5, 2011
    Source: 
    Coast Guard News 

    Abstract: A unified command consisting of the Coast Guard, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and local law enforcement agencies responded to a report of an alleged bomb threat aboard the cruise ship Norwegian Sun in Port Canaveral Saturday.

    Following an extensive security sweep of the cruise ship Norwegian Sun, the unified command has determined the bomb threat to be non-credible. Operations within the Port of Canaveral and the cruise terminal have returned to normal.

    Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Canaveral watchstanders were initially notified Saturday by an agent aboard the cruise ship Norwegian Sun of the alleged bomb threat.

    The cruise ship has safely disembarked approximately 1,894 passengers at Pier Terminal 5 in Port Canaveral.

    The source of the bomb threat is under investigation (Coast Guard News, 2011)

    Title: Cruise Ship Bomb Scare
    Date: August 21, 2011
    Source: Examiner 

    AbstractAs a result of a bomb scare, Discovery Cruise Line's only ship, the Discovery Sun, spent five listless hours Friday night, bobbing in the ocean eighteen miles off of Ft. Lauderdale. To add insult to injury, Discovery Cruise Line is scheduled to "go out of business" on September 6, right after Labor Day.

    The Discovery Sun departed from Lucayan Harbor at Grand Bahama Island at 5pm with nearly 900 passengers, en route back to Port Everglades with a 10:30pm arrival time.

    When the ship was notified of the bomb scare, passengers were restricted to their cabins or a few designated public areas. As US Coast Guard and bomb squad technicians boarded the ship around midnight, the main lobby was off-limits. After the initial search turned up nothing, the ship was allowed to return to Port Everglades around 4am.

    Mike Jachles, a spokesman for the Broward Sheriff’s office said that at about 9pm, the Miami Dade police department received a 911 call warning that there was a man aboard the ship with a gun and a bomb.

    “We immediately notified our homeland security office, the federal authorities, Coast Guard and Florida Department of Law Enforcement,” said Jachles. He went on to say that the US Coast Guard boarded the ship at sea around midnight, accompanied by the Broward Sheriff’s Office’s bomb-detecting dogs.

    With nothing suspicious found onboard, the all-clear was given and the Discovery Sun was allowed to return to Ft. Lauderdale. By 6am, passengers and crew were cleared for debarkation.

    With an empty ship, the Coast Guard, FBI, Customs and Border Protection and the BSO (Broward Sherriff’s Office) performed another search and again turned up nothing.

    “We take all bomb threats seriously and so we have to determine their credibility and err of the side of safety for the public and do a complete response as needed,” Jachles added.

    There is an ongoing investigation between the FBI, Coast Guard, BSO and Customs and Border Protection, according to Jachles (Examiner, 2011)

    Title: Coast Guard And Panama City To Conduct Area Maritime Security Exercise
    Date: September 24, 2011
    Source: Coast Guard News 

    Abstract: Members from Coast Guard Sector Mobile and the Panama City Area Maritime Security Committee will conduct an exercise that will focus on maritime transportation security awareness and terrorism prevention. During the tabletop exercise, participants will conduct global, regional and local terrorism threat scenarios that could potentially impact the port community.

    “Safety and security in the Port of Panama City is a team effort, with players from all levels of government, community leaders, and private businesses,” said Capt. Don Rose, commander of Sector Mobile and the federal maritime security coordinator for the Port of Panama City.

    “This exercise is a chance to put the team together and practice, face-to-face, across the table, to make sure we understand each other and are operating from the same playbook” (Coast Guard News, 2011)

    Title: Coast Guard And Partner Agencies To Participate In Joint Security Exercise In Port Canaveral
    Date: October 24, 2011
    Source: Coast Guard News 

    Abstract: The Coast Guard and Canaveral Port Authority along with federal, state and local partner agencies are participating in Operation Focused Lens East, a full scale Area Maritime Security Training and Exercise Program designed to evaluate area maritime security operations in response to an increased threat in Port Canaveral.

    The objectives of Operation Focused Lens East are designed to mitigate vulnerabilities associated with terrorist attacks and to enhance communications and response operations between federal, state, and local agencies and industry maritime stakeholders.

    “We are exercising our outstanding interagency partnerships in Port Canaveral in order to increase preparedness for all types of security challenges,” said Capt. Andy Blomme, commander, Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville. “The Port Canaveral maritime stakeholder community can rest assured that all levels of government are working together in this endeavor.”

    Participating agencies include the Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Central Florida Information Exchange, Port Canaveral Police Department, Brevard County Office of Emergency Management, Brevard County Sherriff’s Office, and Cape Canaveral Fire Department (Coast Guard News, 2011).

    Title: Coast Guard To Conduct Pyrotechnics Training In Waters Off Fort San Felipe Del Morro, Puerto Rico
    Date: October 26, 2011
    Source: Coast Guard News 

    AbstractCoast Guard crewmembers from Boat Station San Juan are scheduled to conduct pyrotechnics familiarization training Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., in waters approximately one nautical mile off Fort San Felipe del Morro in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

    “This training exercise is an important annual requirement for our crewmembers to maintain their proficiency and knowledge in using the different type of flares, properly identifying their colors and trajectories, and recognizing the audible and visual signs of distress,” said Chief Petty Officer Eduardo Oropeza, Boat Station San Juan Executive Petty Officer.

    The flare training includes introductions to the proper handling and usage of the Mark 79 Mod 0 illumination signal kit, the Mark 124 MOD 0 marine smoke and illumination signal and the Mark 127 parachute illumination signal. The Mark 79 signal kit contains a flare launching device, called a pencil launcher, and seven flares. When fired, the red star flare goes approximately 250-650 feet into the air that lasts approximately 4.5 seconds. The Mark 124 signal is a two-sided signaling device that has both a day end and a night end. The day end disperses thick neon orange smoke for approximately 20 seconds and the night end disperses a blinding red flare for the same amount of time. The Mark 127 parachute illumination signal, when fired, the white star flare goes approximately 600-650 feet into the air and lasts approximately 36 seconds. These flares can be seen from a distance of three to five miles.

    Coast Guardsmen throughout the country constantly train to improve efficiency, maintain qualifications and to teach new members who may be involved in a rescue.

    Mariners can tune in the VHF-Channels 16 and 22 for an informational broadcast issued by the Coast Guard regarding the exercise (Coast Guard News, 2011)

    Title: Maryland School Will Use Cruise Ship As Dorm
    Date: October 26, 2011
    Source: CBS News 

    Abstract: Living in luxury while in college. That will be the answer to a moldy, smelly problem at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

    Vic Carter reports at the waterfront campus in St. Mary’s City, a rented cruise ship will be turned into a dorm.

    You can’t see the mold but students say you can certainly smell it. It’s in the ceiling.

    It’s so bad that students were moved out of the dorms to hotels more than 20 miles from campus.

    “If I was one of those students, I’d be pissed. It’s far. It’s like a 40-minute commute,” said Randall Hause, St. Mary’s sophomore.

    School officials have been scrambling for a better solution. Enter the Voyager, a luxury cruise ship that will dock on Friday on the St. Mary’s River. This weekend, 250 students will make the move.

    “They’ll have the full run of the ship,” said Dr. Joe Urgo, President.

    “I think it’s pretty sweet,” said Fletcher Sims, student.

    Another plus for the school: it will cost less than all those hotel rooms.

    School administrators will do their best to help students make the move to their new digs and they hope to have the mold problem resolved before next semester (CBS News, 2011).

    Title: Cruise Docks In Boston With 2 Dead Passengers
    Date: October 28, 2011
    Source: Fox News

    AbstractA cruise ship turned into a potential crime scene Friday after docking in Boston with two dead passengers, though authorities later announced that they had not found evidence of foul play.

    Police responded to the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal after the Norwegian Cruise Line ship docked at 6:30 a.m. on Friday. The two passengers died Thursday, but their deaths are not considered connected.

    Massachusetts State Police said Friday afternoon that one of the passengers was a 67-year-old woman from Rhode Island who appeared to have died of an apparent medical condition. The other passenger was a 23-year-old man from New Hampshire, and his death is not being considered suspicious.

    No names were released.

    The FBI assisted in the investigation because the deaths occurred outside state waters, MyFoxBoston.com reported.

    A message was left Friday with Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line (Fox News, 2011)

    Title: MSC Poesia Destroys Reef in the Bahamas - Cruise Ship with 26' Draft Sailed Into 15' Waters
    Date: January 9, 2012
    Source: Cruise Law


    Abstract: The MSC Poesia cruise ship ran aground into a reef in the Bahamas this weekend while sailing to  Port Lucaya near Freeport, Bahamas.

    The 93,000-ton cruise ship needs twenty-five feet of draft but sailed into only fifteen (15) feet of water.  The video below show that the vessel ground into and destroyed a substantial length of the fragile reef.

    Several tugs were called to prevent the cruise ship from further grinding into the reef as the wind tried to push the vessel into more shallow water. 

    MSC was not able to get off the reef until high tide.  According to Cruise Radio where I first learned of the grounding, the incident did not stop the cruise ship from tendering cruise passengers to Port Lucaya.  Ed Owen who writes for the Examineralso was one of the first to report on this incident (Cruise Law, 2012).

    Title: Friday The 13th Horror: Costa Concordia Sinks Off Italy, 3 Dead Dozens Still Missing
    Date: January 14, 2012
    Source: USA Today


    Abstract: The Costa Concordia carrying more than 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew, hit a rock and sank in the shallow waters off the Italian island of Giglio.  Concordia had just started the first leg of a seven-day cruise out of Rome’s port of Civitavecchia. According to Costa officials, most of the passengers were evacuated, but at least three people were killed and dozens more injured.  Reports are unclear on the number of missing.  Costa Cruises, which is owned by Carnival Corporation confirmed the evacuation of roughly 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crewmembers from ship.  “The evacuation started promptly, but the ship began to list severely, making it more complicated to complete the evacuation,” Costa said. “At this time, the cause of the incident cannot be confirmed. Costa Cruises is working with the highest commitment to provide all needed assistance to guests, crew members and the local Italian authorities.” Costa Concordia was sailing a Mediterranean cruise from Civitavecchia (Port of Rome) with scheduled stops at Savona, Italy; Marseille, France; Barcelona, Spain; Palma de Mallorca; Cagliari and Palermo, Italy.  According to Costa there are many nationalities onboard including 1,000 Italian passengers, 500 Germans,  250 North Americans,  160 French, along with 1,000 crewmembers.

    Costa Concordia reportedly hit a sandbar near the Italian island of Giglio as passengers were having dinner. Passengers quoted in press reports state that there was a panic among passengers as the ship began to list heavily to one side. Most people reached land by lifeboats but some swam ashore and others were rescued by helicopters.The 114,500-ton Costa Concordia is the largest ship ever to sink.

    “It is a tragedy that deeply affects our company,” Costa said in a statement. “Our first thoughts go to the victims and we express our condolences and concern to their families and friends.  At this time all our efforts are focused on completing the last emergency operations and providing assistance to the guests and crew who were on board to facilitate their return home as soon as possible. Emergency procedures started promptly to evacuate the ship. The severe list of the ship made the evacuation extremely difficult.”  Costa added: “We express our profound gratitude to the Coast Guard and all the organizations coordinated by the Coast Guard in the rescue mission, including the authorities and citizens of the island Isola del Giglio, who were involved in the rescue and assistance to guests and crew members.” The line said it would cooperate fully with the relevant authorities to determine the causes of the accident. A Costa spokesman said family members and travel agents with passengers on Costa Concordia could call Costa’s call center at 800-462-6782 for more information (USA Today, 2012).

    Title: American Tourist 'Jumps To His Death' On Cruise Ship In Bahamas
    Date: January 29, 2102
    Source: Daily Mail


    Abstract: An American 26-year-old man has died after falling from one floor to another on a cruise ship docked in the Bahamas.

    The passenger from South Carolina, who was aboard the Carnival Fantasy cruise, plunged to his death late on Friday night.

    Authorities are investigating the death of the man, whose identity has not yet been released.

    He was pronounced dead at the scene.

    Bahamas police said that initial reports indicate that the man may have jumped deliberately.

    The ship, which was docked in Nassau at the time, was cleared by authorities to sail on Saturday morning.

    However, because of the delay due to the investigation a scheduled visit to Freeport was cancelled.      

    Carnival Fantasy was on a five-day Bahamas cruise that departed Charleston, on Wednesday and is scheduled to return on Monday (Daily Mail, 2012).

    Title:
    U.S. Authorities Can't Really Fault Al-Qaeda For Deadly Bombing Of Carnival Cruise Ship
    Date: February 9, 2011
    Source: The Onion

    Abstract: Following Monday's deadly terrorist attack on a Carnival Cruise Line ship, U.S. officials have had difficulty issuing a stern condemnation of the incident, saying that while any act of terrorism is inexcusable, they couldn't completely blame al-Qaeda for wanting to blow up what is essentially a giant, floating symbol of everything that is truly god-awful about America.

    The ship, a 15-deck, $740 million vessel that slowly traveled up and down the Atlantic Ocean while its passengers continuously ate and drank—referred to by Carnival as a "fun ship"—was destroyed in an act U.S. authorities have said is "not completely senseless" and "actually makes a pretty solid point about American excess run amuck."

    "Terrorism is a crime against humanity for which there can never be any justification," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told reporters. "But then again, so is a 130,000-ton boat with an indoor ice skating rink, 24-hour buffet access, and a dance club called the Caliente Lounge. To condemn al-Qaeda outright for this attack would be to ignore the fact that, well, you can't really argue with them on this one."

     "Those things are really just atrocious," Napolitano added.

    DHS officials said the understandable act of terrorism occurred at 1:24 p.m., just as cruise director Harold Granger was attempting to get everyone off their pool chairs to dance the Macarena. At that point, 19 coordinated explosions ripped through the ship's most populated areas, including the Ocean Plaza Bar, the Wet 'n' Wild water park, and the Burgundy Lounge, where, according to the DHS report, "the sort of Americans who typically go on these things" were learning how to get good deals on jewelry in the Bahamas.

    Following the deadly explosion, al-Qaeda leaders immediately took credit for the attack; and after information surfaced that comedian and featured Carnival Cruise performer Bill Bellamy was killed in the blast, U.S. leaders gave al-Qaeda even more credit for the attack.

    "Yes, violent extremism against our people will not be tolerated, but come on, if there's one thing that has no reason at all for existing, it's cruise ships," CIA director Leon Panetta told reporters. "Imagine you come from a dirt-poor country that can't afford running water, and then you see more than 3,000 gluttonous pigs scarfing down all-you-can-eat French toast and whining because nobody told them there was whale-watching in Cozumel. Hell, you'd want to blow up the thing, too."

    "I mean, have you ever been on a cruise?" Panetta added. "Jesus Christ."

    When asked if the CIA had any prior information about the terrorist attack, Panetta questioned if one could really call the destruction of a horrible thing that offends the very core of what it means to be human "terrorism."

    Foreign leaders in France, Britain, and Germany, as well as citizens in the Carnival Cruise port city of St. Thomas, have joined the U.S. in issuing strongly worded statements of their own, saying that the suspected architect of the attack, Ayman al-Zawahiri, did the United States a huge favor. In addition, sources in the State Department said their only problem with the strike was that it wasn't on a Disney cruise ship, which they claimed would have allowed al-Qaeda to kill two birds with one stone.

    "The thing had a 70,000-watt sound system and an LED jumbo-sized television screen the size of Mexico hanging over the pool deck, for crying out loud," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "It deserved to go up in flames. And, frankly, so does anyone who can get that excited about duty-free cigarettes."

    Thus far, Americans have praised President Obama's calm in the wake of the tragedy. According to a CNN poll, 95 percent of U.S. citizens who wouldn't be caught dead on a cruise ship said he made the right decision to continue reading to schoolchildren upon hearing news of the blast.

    "Typically I would say that if we don't move on and go about our daily lives, then the terrorists will win," Obama said during a late-day announcement. "But if this stops just one U.S. citizen from booking a 10-day getaway on one of those abominations, then I am happy to cede victory to al-Qaeda on this one. Congratulations, al-Qaeda. And thank you" (The Onion, 2012).

    Title: Cruise Ship Adrift in Pirate Infested Indian Ocean
    Date: February 27, 2012
    Source: ABC News


    Abstract: More than a thousand people are awaiting rescue on the Costa Allegra cruise ship after a fire broke out on board causing the luxury liner to lose power.

    The ship is adrift in the Indian Ocean more than 200 miles from the Seychelles island nation off mainland Africa, an area that is infested by pirates.

    This is the second emergency situation this year for Costa Cruises which is owned by Carnival Cruises. In January, 32 people were killed when the Costa Concordia capsized after hitting rocks off the Italian island of Giglio. Seven people are still missing and presumed dead.

    The Italian cruise line released a statement saying no one was injured, and the blaze that broke out in the engine room in the ship's aft was quickly extinguished. A spokesman for the Italian coast guard said the Seychelles Navy is sending rescue vessels-- including tug boats-- and a plane that has spotted the Allegra's location.

    "The passengers and crew are in safe condition," said Commander Cosimo Nicastro of the Italian coast guard. "They are not necessarily comfortable because the ship only has emergency power on board, but they are safe."

    "The winds right now are blowing at about 25 knots but we are not worried because it is a big ship, so the weather is not a concern," Nicastro said.

    He said the Italian coast guard used satellite systems to spot nearby vessels that have agreed to assist in the emergency. A French fishing boat should reach the Allegra tonight. Another fishing boat should arrive by 5 a.m., and three merchant ships are also on the way.

    Eight U.S. citizens are aboard the ship that left Madagascar on Saturday and was supposed to reach the Seychelles tomorrow. The Allegra is carrying 636 passengers and 413 crew members on a nearly month long cruise with numerous stops at island nations off the east coast of Africa along the way to Savona, Italy.

    Costa Cruises says crews are inspecting the engine room hoping to restart the equipment necessary for the ship to become operational. The company's website says a live webcam transmission from the Allegra was interrupted at 9:15 GMT, about 25 minutes before the company says the fire was first reported (ABC News, 2012).

    Title: Power Restored To Cruise Ship Hit By Engine Fire Off Indonesia
    Date: March 31, 2012
    Source: CNN

    Abstract: Engineers have restored propulsion power to a cruise ship carrying about 1,000 people after it was left adrift off Indonesia by an engine fire, cruise company Azamara Club Cruises said.

    The ship is now sailing directly to Sandakan, in Malaysia, at a speed of between three and six knots and is expected to arrive within 24 to 48 hours, the company said.

    The Philippines Navy said it had sent a patrol boat which is accompanying the cruise ship.

    All of the nearly 600 passengers on board the Azamara Quest are safe but five crew members suffered smoke inhalation during the fire, the company said in an online statement.

     One crew member who was more seriously injured is doing better but will be taken to a hospital as soon as the ship reaches shore, it said.

    "The damage caused by the fire will require us to cancel the rest of Azamara Quest's voyage once the ship arrives in Sandakan," it said.

    As of Saturday morning local time, the ship was located 200 miles off the port city of Balikpapan, on the Indonesian island of Borneo, in calm seas, the company said.

    The fire broke out at about 8:20 p.m. local time in one of the ship's engine rooms, where it was contained and quickly extinguished, the company said.

    Power was restored to one of the engines late Friday, allowing the ship to restart its air conditioning, running water, plumbing and refrigeration, Azamara Club Cruises said.

    The fire broke out after the Azamara Quest had set sail from Manila, in the Philippines, Officer Francis Wong, chief of communications for the Philippines Navy, told CNN.

    The ship's captain reported the fire to the Philippine naval authorities, who sent a Cessna aircraft and two patrol gun boats to the cruise ship in response, he said.

    As of noon Friday Philippine time the fire was under control, he said.

    "When we left the ship was safe and close to Palawan," he said, referring to an island province in the Philippines.

    The Azamara Quest was on a 17-night sailing voyage that departed Hong Kong, China, on March 26, and was due to include port calls in the Philippines, Borneo and Indonesia before concluding in Singapore on April 12.

    Anyone booked on the Azamara Quest for a cruise starting April 12 is advised by Azamara Club Cruises to check the company's website on Monday for an update.

    Azamara Club Cruises, which operates two cruise liners, is part of the giant Royal Caribbean Cruises group (CNN, 2012).

    Title: Doctor Pulled From Cruise Over Fake Bioterrorist Message
    Date: May 11, 2012
    Source:
    BioPrepWatch

    Abstract: A Nashville neurosurgeon was taken off of a Carnival cruise after an imposter account on Twitter posted a message that the doctor was planning to commit a bioterrorist attack.

    Jack Kruse was planning to speak to the passengers of a Carnival Magic cruise on Monday as part of the 5th Annual Low-Carb Cruise. The ship was to launch on Sunday from a Galveston, Texas, port. Kruse was escorted off the cruise after the suspicious tweet was detected, the Houston Chronicle reports.

    “Security confiscated dynamite,” the fake Twitter account said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “Talk won’t be as explosive as one at PaleoFx. Still have vial of Legionnaires for epic biohack. #lccruise12.”

    In addition to the tweet, the cruise line received a call alleging that the doctor planned to engage in a viral biohack on the ship. The U.S. Coast Guard, the Galveston police, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI were all informed about the tweet.

    “It was like being in a movie, and it was surreal,” Kruse said, according to the Houston Chronicle. ”Having the room completely trashed, and I was asked all of these crazy questions. I had no idea what they were talking about.”

    Officials cleared the doctor before the ship left the port, but the captain would not permit Kruse to re-board.

    “Since the safety and well-being of my guests and crew is my number one priority, every security threat is taken seriously and fully investigated,” Captain Giovanni Cutugno said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “It is for this reason that I felt it was in the best interest of all my guests to err on the side of caution and not allow him to set sail as planned.”

    The investigation is ongoing into the identity of the person who created the account and posted the tweet (BioPrepWatch, 2012).

    Title: Dawn Princess Norovirus Outbreak Investigation Update
    Date: September 9, 2012
    Source: 
    Global Dispatch

    Abstract: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an outbreak update last week concerning the Princess Cruises Dawn Princess norovirus outbreak.

    According to the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program Update, the investigation involves Dawn Princess cruise ship voyage dates were from August 21 to September 13, 2012.

    Of the 1,778 passenger on board the ship, 114 were stricken with the symptoms of norovirus infection. In addition, of the 851 crew aboard the ship, 11 displayed symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.

    Princess Cruises have reportedly increased cleaning and disinfection procedures according to their outbreak prevention and response plan.

    In addition, the following other actions have been taken:

    • Made announcements to notify onboard passengers of the outbreak, encourage case reporting, and encourage hand hygiene,
    • Collected stool specimens from ill passengers and crew, tested the specimens onboard using a rapid Norovirus test, and made plans to send them to the CDC lab,
    • Made twice daily reports of gastrointestinal illness cases to the VSP,
    • Has deployed a public health officer from the corporate office to supervise implementation of the ship’s response plan,
    • Is consulting with CDC on plans for their super sanitation procedures in Seward, AK.

    The CDC reports that two CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officers will board the ship on arrival in Juneau, AK on September 7, 2012 to conduct an environmental health assessment and evaluate the outbreak and response activities. Stool specimens will be sent to the CDC lab for confirmatory testing and genome sequencing.

    Norovirus is a highly contagious illness caused by infection with a virus of the same name. It is often called by other names, such as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu, and food poisoning.

    The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people, the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults do.

    Norovirus is spread person to person particularly in crowded, closed places. Norovirus is typically spread through contaminated food and water, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth and close contact with someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea.

    Norovirus causes more than 20 million illnesses annually, and it is the leading cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks in the United States (Global Dispatch, 2012).

    Title: Norovirus On Celebrity Cruises' Ship Constellation
    Date:
    November 6, 2012
    Source:
    BBC

    Abstract:
    A cruise ship delayed its departure from Southampton after a suspected outbreak of norovirus on board.

    Celebrity Cruises' vessel Constellation arrived in the city's port at 06:00 GMT at the end of a 12-night cruise.

    Southampton's Port Health Authority said about 350 passengers had fallen ill with the vomiting and diarrhoea bug.

    Its departure was delayed until 20:00 while deep cleaning took place.

    The authority's Rosie Zambra confirmed it was informed of "concerns over an increased levels of what appeared to be norovirus" several days before the ship's arrival.

    'Bad sanitation'

    About 2,200 and 900 crew had been on a wine cruise around the coasts of France and Spain.

    A representative of the health authority has since been on board and verified the affected cabins and public areas had been deep cleaned.

    Passenger David Mattey said his holiday had been "completely ruined" when he went down with severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

    He said: "The sanitation on that ship is bad."

    A statement from Celebrity Cruises said the crew was conducting "extra cleaning and sanitising on board the ship and within the cruise terminal as preventative measures."

    It added its hygiene procedures on board were "comprehensive and always strictly adhered to" (BBC, 2012).

    Title: Norovirus Outbreak Sickens 140 On Royal Caribbean's ‘Voyager Of The Seas’
    Date:
    November 23, 2012
    Source:
    Examiner

    Abstract:
    Approximately 140 passengers and crew on board Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas developed gastrointestinal symptoms resembling norovirus upon returning from New Zealand to Sydney, according to a Royal Caribbean blog report Nov. 23.

    According to the cruise line statement, those infected with the stomach bug responded well to over-the-counter medications administered on board the ship.

    Cruise officials notified passengers today that they would begin cleaning and sanitizing guest rooms per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

    Because of these events, big lines were formed at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay, which stretched hundred of meters, frustrating passengers.

    The Voyager of the Seas can hold 3,138 passengers and over 1,100 crew members.

    Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause the “stomach flu,” or gastroenteritis in people.

    The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people, the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults do.

    Norovirus is spread person to person particularly in crowded, closed places. Norovirus is typically spread through contaminated food and water, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth and close contact with someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea (Examiner, 2012).

    Title: Norovirus Outbreak Hits Luxury European Cruise
    Date: December 12, 2012
    Source:
    Telegraph

    Abstract: At least 150 of the nearly 2000 people on board P&O’s Oriana have reportedly been struck by the norovirus.

    One angry passenger described the trip, which takes in the Christmas markets of Zeebrugge, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo and Hamburg, as "a cruise to hell".

    There were reports from people on board that the liner smelt of vomit.

    P&O last night confirmed the outbreak of norovirus, but said there were only nine cases.

    Retired fireman Dave Stringer, 57, told the Sun he had to pay £55 for an injection to ease symptoms.

    Mr Stringer, from Walsall, West Mids, said: “There might be a riot because the captain and crew just refuse to listen.

    “We’ll refuse to disembark unless we get some answers. This hasn’t been a holiday — it’s been a cruise to Hell.” Another British passenger said: “It is a scandal — misery on the high seas.”

    The cruise ship began its tour on December 4 with 1,843 passengers on board but the bug reportedly struck within hours of setting sail.

    A P&O spokesman said: “Enhanced sanitation protocols have already been implemented” (Telegraph, 2012).

    Title: Child Falls Aboard Cruise, Ship Turns Back
    Date: December 22, 2012
    Source:
    My Fox 8 News

    Abstract: A cruise ship headed to the Bahamas had to return to port in central Florida after a young child was injured in a fall aboard ship.

    Royal Caribbean officials say the 14-month-old from India fell Friday aboard the Monarch of the Seas. The ship left Port Canaveral that day for a Bahamas cruise.

    According to the Orlando Sentinel, the child fell from one floor to another shortly after leaving Cape Canaveral.

    Cruise line officials say the child initially received medical treatment on board the ship but needed to be hospitalized.

    The ship turned around and returned to Florida, where the child was taken to a hospital.

    No additional information about the child’s injuries was released.

    Royal Caribbean officials say Monarch of the Seas is sailing a three-night itinerary to CocoCay and Nassau, Bahamas (My Fox 8 News, 2012).

    Title: Coast Guard Searches For A 2nd Day For Washington State Man Missing From Caribbean Cruise
    Date: November 30, 2012
    Source:
    Fox News

    Abstract: The Coast Guard has searched for a second day for a Washington state man missing from his Caribbean cruise but found no sign of him.

    Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad tells The Associated Press that two ships and a plane based in Florida were searching the ocean northwest of Puerto Rico on Friday. He said it remained an active search effort.

    The 42-year-old man was identified as Jason Rappe of Olympia, Washington, who had been on board the Holland America Line cruise ship Eurodam. The ship was traveling from St. Thomas to the Bahamas when he was reported missing by his wife on Thursday. The ship turned around to join the search but a Holland America spokeswoman says the Eurodam has since resumed its journey (Fox News, 2012).

    Title: Norovirus Strikes Emerald Princess Passengers On Christmas Eve - Princess Suffers More Than 50% Of U.S. Norovirus Cases This Year
    Date: December 24, 2012
    Source:
    Cruise Law News

    Abstract: Miami's WSVM Channel 7 television station is bringing us some bad news this Christmas Eve, reporting that passengers aboard a Princess Cruises cruise ship sailing on the high seas are ill with the dreaded norovirus.

    According to News Station 7, more than 150 passengers and crew members reportedly caught the norovirus aboard the Emerald Princess.

    This is the second Princess cruise ship in a week to report cases of the contagious virus.  The Crown Princess sailed to Galveston with over 100 cruise passengers and crew members ill with norovirus. You can read several comments by passengers criticizing the food serving and hygiene on the cruise ship  

    The news station states that crews will sanitize the ship once it docks at Port Everglades on Thursday, whatever that means.

    The sick passengers and crew were reportedly confined to their cabins to prevent a further spread of the disease on the 10-day cruise.

    As far as cruise ships calling on U.S. ports, Princess Cruises has by far the most gastrointestinal illness outbreaks - with all of the cases involving norovirus.  According to the data collected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), of the total number of 15 outbreaks, this is the ninth sailing with an illness outbreak on Princess cruise ships this year alone:

    The Crown Princess suffered two outbreaks in January and February; the Ruby Princess in February; the Sun Princess in July; the Dawn Princess in August and September; the Ruby Princess again in October; the Crown Princess again in December; and now the Emerald Princess.  

    As year 2012 ends, Princess has experienced more than 50% of the CDC documented gastrointestinal cases. Considering there are 26 cruise lines associated with the Cruise Line International Association, one cruise line having more than 50% of the sicknesses is quite a feat!

    Princess' standard operating procedure is to always blame the passengers for bringing the virus aboard.  Let's wait and hear what Princess says this time. Who wants to make a bet that the cruise line PR representatives point the finger at the poor people spending Christmas Eve puking in their staterooms?

    Anyone sailing on the Emerald Princess have comments about the latest norovirus outbreak?  

    December 26, 2012 Update: The Global Dispatch states:

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vessel Sanitation Program team will be boarding Princess Cruises’ “Emerald Princess” as it arrives in Ft. Lauderdale Dec. 27 to investigate an outbreak of yet unknown etiology, which has sickened nearly 200 passengers and crew.

    According to health officials, a total of 166 passengers and 30 crew were sickened with the symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting, resembling norovirus. The voyage dates for the cruise were from Dec. 17 to Dec. 27.

    The CDC said the cruise ship took the following actions in response to the outbreak to include cleaning and sanitizing, making announcements to notify passengers and crew and to encourage hand hashing, collecting stool samples for laboratory analysis and reporting twice daily to CDC officials.

    This outbreak follows a norovirus outbreak reported aboard a “Crown Princess” cruise destined for Galveston, TX. More than 100 passengers and crew were sickened in this outbreak, according to a Chron.com report earlier this week.

    Norovirus is a highly contagious illness caused by infection with a virus of the same name. It is often called by other names, such as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu, and food poisoning.

    The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people, the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults do.

    Norovirus is spread person to person particularly in crowded, closed places. Norovirus is typically spread through contaminated food andwater, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth and close contact with someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea (Cruise Law News, 2012).

    Title: More Than 200 Passengers On Queen Mary 2 Fall Sick With Vomiting And Diarrhea On Exclusive Christmas Cruise - As Those On SECOND Liner Become Ill With 'Norovirus'
    Date: December 29, 2012
    Source:
    Daily Mail

    Abstract: Hundreds of passengers hoping to enjoy a pampered Christmas cruise on the imposing Queen Mary 2 are instead below deck with an unknown illness that causes vomiting and diarrhea. 

    Earlier this week, 189 passengers and 31 crew members had come down with symptoms, which are consistent with the norovirus, a highly-contagious virus that is easily passed from person to person through contaminated food or water.

    The luxe liner departed New York on Saturday for a 12-night cruise in the Caribbean. A ticket on the prestigious liner can cost upwards of $4,700.

    Norovirus causes an inflammation of the stomach or intestines called acute gastroenteritis, producing stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

    Each year, norovirus causes some 21million illnesses, of which 70,000 require hospitalization. It kills about 800 people a year, the CDC says.

    The Queen Mary 2, with 2,613 passengers and 1,255 crew members, is now docked in Saint Maarten in the Caribbean, according to ship owner Cunard Line, which is owned by Carnival Corp. 

    The CDC learned of the illnesses on the QM2 on Christmas Day, and of those on the Emerald Princess last Saturday. Vessels are required to notify the agency when two percent of those on board develop a gastrointestinal illness.

    Although the microbial culprit remains unclear in both cases, another reason to suspect norovirus is that the pathogen 'has affected a number of schools, hospitals, nursing homes and children's day care centres this winter' in the United Kingdom, Ms Cunard said in a statement.

    She did not immediately return MailOnline’s request for comment as to the current status of the Queen Mary 2’s passengers and crew.

    The vessel sails regularly scheduled crossings between New York and Southampton, England, between April and late November, Cunard spokeswoman Jackie Chase told Reuters in an email. 'In addition, many of our guests come from the UK.'

    The QM2's captain is advising passengers with gastrointestinal symptoms to report to the medical center, Ms Chase said. Those sickened are asked to 'isolate themselves in their cabin until non-contagious. 

    They are also asked not to proceed ashore, and any shore excursion costs will be refunded. Room service is provided to affected passengers and every effort is made to make them as comfortable as possible.'

    Of the 194 QM2 passengers who had fallen sick, said Chase, all but 12 had recovered as of Friday.

    In a post on the message board cruisecritic.com on Wednesday, a woman who said her daughter was on the QM2 said she 'just received a message from her indicating that the Norovirus is active on board.'

    On Thursday, someone reporting being on the ship posted that 'the restaurants are still full. The Captain last night recommended that people take all of their meals in the full-service restaurants rather than the buffet, but the buffet remains open as of this morning. We've been kept informed daily of the persistent cases.'

    Another post said: 'The crew are working like crazy to service all the guests. At lunch today I noticed the hand rails on the promenade deck were wiped three times in about one hour.'

    In response to the outbreak, the QM2 crew has increased cleaning and disinfection procedures, the CDC said, and is asking passengers and crew to report cases of illness and 'encourage hand hygiene.'

    Medical personnel are also collecting stool specimens from ill passengers and crew, which a CDC lab will analyze to make a definitive diagnosis.

    The $900million ship is considered by many to be the epitome of luxury, and has on-board, among other things, a spa, planetarium, library, theater, and fifteen restaurants and bars. Certain dining areas are reserved for passengers who hold the most expensive tickets.

    Port of call: The liner departed from Brooklyn last week and is due there again at the conclusion of the 12-day cruise

    When the QM2 docks in Brooklyn, an officer from the CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program and an epidemiologist will board, conduct an environmental health assessment 'and evaluate the outbreak and response activities,' the CDC said.

    Two officers boarded the Emerald Princess, also owned by Carnival, when it arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Thursday and are conducting an environmental assessment.

    The Vessel Sanitation Program has authority to inspect cruise ships that carry 13 or more passengers and call at U.S. ports.

    It gave the Queen Mary 2 a perfect 100 on its most recent inspection this past summer, but found a few minor infractions, including a lack of serving utensils with breakfast pastries at a buffet.

    CUNARD'S STATEMENT ON ILLNESS ABOARD QUEEN MARY 2

    There has been an incidence of a mild gastrointestinal illness among the passengers on Queen Mary 2. This illness is suspected to be Norovirus, which is highly contagious and typically transmitted from person to person.

    Norovirus is common throughout the UK, Europe and North America and has affected a number of schools, hospitals, nursing homes and children’s day care centres this winter. 

    The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has stated that Norovirus activity across the UK this season is 83 per cent higher than the same period last year. This has been well documented in the media recently.

    Queen Mary 2 is currently on a 12-night Caribbean cruise which departed from New York on Saturday December 22. There are 2613 passengers on board, the number of passengers with active symptoms today is nine.

    Enhanced sanitation protocols have been employed to help minimize transmission to other passengers. These comprehensive disinfection protocols have been developed by Cunard Line in conjunction with UK and U.S. public health authorities. 

    The safety and comfort of passengers and crew is always our number one priority. As is currently standard procedure across our fleet, all the ship’s passengers were provided with a precautionary health notice advising of widespread Norovirus activity and the health measures to avoid contraction and spread, both on board and whilst ashore (Daily Mail, 2012).

    Title: Cruise Ship Carrying 112 Passengers Sinks In Egypt - Reports
    Date: January 29, 2013
    Source:
    RT

    Abstract: A cruise ship carrying 112 passengers has sunk in the Nile River near Asswan, Egypt, according to Al Arabiya.

    The boat sank between Kom Ombo and Asswan after colliding with rocks.

    It was traveling from Luxor to Aswan, according to local media reports.

    The ship was carrying Egyptian citizens. No foreign passengers were on board.

    All 112 passengers were safely evacuated (RT, 2013).

    Title: 5 Dead, 3 Injured After Lifeboat Falls Off Cruise Ship In Drill Off Canary Islands
    Date: February 10, 2013
    Source:
    Fox News

    Abstract: A lifeboat being used on a safety drill aboard a cruise ship in Spain's Canary Islands fell about 65 feet into a port on Sunday when a cable snapped, trapping crew members beneath it and killing five of them, officials said.

    None of the hundreds of passengers aboard the British-operated vessel were involved in the accident, which also injured three crew members, said the Canary Islands port authority.

    Divers raced to the lifeboat, which had hit the water upside down, recovering four bodies and trying without success to revive a fifth crewman who had stopped breathing, the authority said.

    Thomson Cruises confirmed the accident and the casualties aboard its Thomson Majesty ship on the island of La Palma, saying the three injured crewmen were not badly hurt.

    The ship docked at the island's port of Santa Cruz in the morning, after arriving there from the neighboring island of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It was due to depart at 3 p.m. for Funchal on the mid-Atlantic island of Madeira with 1,498 passengers and 594 crew aboard, the authority said.

    At 10:30 a.m. a drill consisting of lowering a lifeboat with crew members aboard began.

    About an hour later, when the lifeboat was being hoisted back up to the deck, a cable holding it snapped and a hook holding the lifeboat on a second cable gave way, sending the lifeboat plunging into the port upside down, the authority said in a statement.

    An alarm was sounded and port authorities were alerted. The captain of the cruise ship called for the divers who arrived at the capsized lifeboat.

    The dead crewmen included three Indonesians, a Filipino and a Ghanian, authorities said. The three injured crew members were taken by ambulance to a hospital in La Palma and the nationality of only one of them was immediately known: Greek.

    Local authorities of La Palma canceled Carnival festivities that had been due to be held on the island Sunday, but said they would go ahead as planned on Monday (Fox News, 2013).

    Title: Busted Toilets, Hot Rooms, Headaches After Fire Strands Cruise Ship In Gulf
    Date: February 12, 2013
    Source:
    CNN

    Abstract: Passengers on a Carnival cruise ship drifting in the Gulf of Mexico aren't getting the vacation they expected -- sleeping on its decks, making do with a few working toilets, and doing what they can to get food -- all due to a weekend engine fire left the vessel dead in the water.

    The Carnival Triumph was about 150 miles off the coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, heading back Sunday morning to Galveston, Texas -- where it had departed Thursday on a four-day trip -- when a fire broke out in an engine room, according to Carnival Cruise Lines.

    The ship's automatic fire extinguishing system kicked in and soon contained the flames, and no injuries were reported, Carnival reported.

    Yet this fire left the ship -- and its 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members -- adrift without propulsion, the cruise line said, halting its trip back to port.

    The first of two tugboats that will tow the ship to Mobile, Alabama, arrived on Monday evening, the cruise line said in a statement. The ship should arrive in the Gulf city some time Thursday.

    Not being able to sail, though, is just one of the problems. Issues with running water, scarce electricity and more contributed to headaches big and small, according to passengers and their loved ones.

    Toby Barlow's wife Ann told him there was "sewage running down the walls and floors" with passengers being asked to defecate in bags and urinate in showers due to a lack of functioning toilets. Food lines ran 3½ hours long and some, like herself, slept outside to keep cool.

    "Elderly and handicap(ped people) are struggling," she texted her husband. "The smells are gross."

    Brent Nutt said his wife, Bethany -- who is on board, and whom he talked to Sunday -- reported similar problems.

    "She said they had no power, no running water, and she said she hadn't been able to eat anything yet. Then you call the Carnival phone number for families, and they tell you that everything is all right," Nutt told CNN.

    Posts to CruiseCritic.com, which bills itself as an "interactive community of avid and first-time cruisers," documented similar issues with power and more. Some posts, though, were more light-hearted.

    "They are all fine," wrote one woman, whose sister is on board. "Said they are still having fun and gave me the task to call her boss who seems to think I was lying."

    Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen acknowledged issues, while noting the cruise line's efforts to address the situation.

    Some people are camping out on the decks because some cabins don't have air conditioning, he said Monday evening.

    And Gulliksen pointed to recent progress. For instance, "we have restored toilets in some public areas and cabins;" there is running water for showers, even if it's cold; and some elevators are working.

    As for the food situation, he said the Triumph's poolside restaurant has "limited food service" and meals have been brought aboard from two other Carnival ships. Earlier Monday, the cruise line said in a statement that there was hot coffee available, among other options.

    "All our guests are safe, and we're doing everything we can to make them as comfortable as possible," Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill said in a statement issued at 8:30 p.m. ET Monday. "We're terribly sorry for the inconvenience, discomfort and frustration our guests are feeling."

    Besides the two Carnival vessels that have come to transfer supplies -- and, in one case, take on a passenger with a pre-existing medical condition, said Gulliksen -- the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Vigorous is on-site to aid the stranded ship.

    "It's in deep water and not near any hazards to navigation," said Greg Magee, the commander of the Vigorous.

    The ship was initially expected to be towed into the northern Yucatan port of Progreso, Mexico. But the ship had already drifted about 90 miles north due to strong currents by Monday night, prompting the decision to instead move the Triumph to Mobile.

    Carnival said Mobile and Progreso were then roughly equidistant, adding that strong currents toward the Alabama shore and a "simpler re-entry" -- especially for the 900 passengers without passports -- also drove the decision to head to the U.S. coast.

    After being towed to port, those aboard the Carnival Triumph will be flown home at no cost to them, the cruise line said. They will also get a full refund, credit that can be used toward a future trip and reimbursement for all expenses, except casino and gift shop purchases, for their current trip.

    The vessel's next two departures, scheduled for Monday and Saturday, have been canceled. Those slated to be on those trips will get full refunds and discounts toward future cruises, the cruise line said.

    Family and friends of those on board may call 888-290-5095 or 305-406-5534 for information.

    Throughout the ordeal, Barlow said his wife Ann has kept her sense of humor despite being stranded.

    "I joked with her that I got the raw end of the deal. I was stuck in Texas with all (the) kids going to watch midget wrestling while she was on a cruise this weekend with her girlfriends," he said. "When I talked to her (Sunday) night, I reminded her maybe I got the better end of the deal," he said (CNN, 2013).

    Title: Investigation Update on the Ruby Princess
    Date: March 3, 2013
    Source: CDC


    Abstract:

    Cruise Line: Princess Cruises

    Cruise Ship: Ruby Princess

    Voyage Dates: March 3-10, 2013

    Number of passengers who have reported being ill during the voyage out of total number of passengers onboard: 266 of 3,129 (8.50%)

    Number of crew who have reported being ill during the voyage out of total number of crew onboard: 10 of 1,189 (.84%)

    Predominant symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea

    Causative agent: Unknown

    Actions: In response to the outbreak, Princess Cruises and the crew aboard the ship took the following actions:

    • Increased cleaning and disinfection procedures according to their outbreak prevention and response plan,
    • Delayed boarding of new passengers to completed infection control procedures on board,
    • Provided written notification of the outbreak to passengers at the embarkation terminal in Fort Lauderdale on 10 March,
    • Attempted collection of stool specimens from passenger and crew gastrointestinal illness cases,
    • Will begin daily reporting to CDC Vessel Sanitation Program on the new voyage beginning 10 March, 2013.

    As this outbreak was only communicated to the Vessel Sanitation Program on 10 March, no on board response was conducted. VSP will review all documentation from this voyage and continue to monitor the ship in the new cruise for any continuation of this outbreak. Any stool samples collected from the current cruise will be sent to the CDC lab for testing (CDC, 2013).

    Title: Norovirus Sickens Scores On Royal Caribbean’s ‘Vision Of The Seas’
    Date: March 8, 2013
    Source:
    Global Dispatch

    Abstract: An outbreak of the nasty, gastrointestinal disease has struck passengers and crew of  Royal Caribbean’s ‘Vision of the Seas’ upon returning to Port Everglades today, according to a WPTV.com report today.

    “Vision of the Seas experienced an elevated number of persons with a gastrointestinal illness on its last sailing,” Royal Caribbean International said in a statement.

    Official tally of those ill include 108 passengers and crew; however, passengers said more than 200 passengers had to be quarantined due to the outbreak.

    Patients were given over the counter medication and the ship was “extensively sanitized” according to a company statement.

    Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause the “stomach flu,” or gastroenteritis in people.

    The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people, the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults do.

    Norovirus is spread person to person particularly in crowded, closed places. Norovirus is typically spread through contaminated food and water, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth and close contact with someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea.

    The highly contagious norovirus is the second leading infectious cause of gastroenteritis-associated deaths accounting for 800 annually. Norovirus causes more than 20 million illnesses annually, and it is the leading cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks in the United States (Global Dispatch, 2013).

    Title: Ghost Ship: Abandoned Russian Cruise Liner Adrift For Weeks In North Atlantic
    Date: March 13, 2013
    Source:
    Fox News

    Abstract: A Russian cruise ship with only rats aboard is floating aimlessly in the North Atlantic, hundreds of miles off the coast of Newfoundland after breaking loose from a tugboat.

    The MV Lyubov Orlova — named after an iconic Russian film actress — was being towed to a scrapyard in the Dominican Republic when a cable snapped, leaving the 295-foot vessel adrift. A brief effort to re-secure the boat was abandoned days later due to rough seas. As of Tuesday, the ship was roughly 760 miles off the coast of Newfoundland and 1,125 miles from Ireland, a U.S. intelligence agency told FoxNews.com.

    “We continue to receive information about the ship’s location, and will issue message when needed to facilitate safe navigation,” Christine Phillips, a spokeswoman for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

    The 37-year-old, Yugoslavia-built ship is slowly floating toward Europe. Phillips said she was unaware of any government-led efforts by any country to secure or salvage the Orlova.

    “We continue to receive information about the ship’s location, and will issue message when needed to facilitate safe navigation."

    - Christine Phillips, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

    Nine days after its initial departure, the ship was reportedly spotted by the Atlantic Hawk, an oil platform supply vessel that was able to intercept and briefly secure the Lyubov Orlova until Feb. 4. But Transport Canada — Canada’s transportation authority — then ordered it be cut loose since the ship had left the country’s waters and was in potentially dangerous seas with waves of up to 23 feet and 80 mph wind gusts.

    “Continued efforts to tow the the Lyubov Orlova would have caused unacceptable risk to the crews of the towing operation,” Transport Canada spokeswoman Marie-Eve Higo wrote in an email to The Globe and Mail.

    The agency said the ship’s owner was now responsible for its movements.

    “The vessel has drifted into international waters, and given current patterns and predominant winds, it is very unlikely that the vessel will re-enter waters under Canadian jurisdiction,” the department said in a statement last month.

    The ship, at the time, was roughly 50 nautical miles outside of Canadian waters and was moving northeasterly, according to the Transport Canada statement.

    Phillips said the Canadian Coast Guard later relayed the location of the derelict vessel to NGA officials. NGA officials, in turn, informed mariners through the World Wide Navigational Warning Service on Feb. 19, Phillips said.

    The owner of the ship, according to court records cited by The Globe and Mail, is Hussein Humayuni, owner of Neptune International Shipping Inc. A message seeking comment from Neptune officials by FoxNews.com was not immediately returned on Wednesday.

    The ship’s current status is not the first time it has made headlines. Due to a reported financial dispute between Cruise North Expeditions, which wanted to charter the ice-fortified ship for summer cruises in the Arctic Ocean, the vessel was seized in St. John’s when it arrived in September 2010. Local residents reportedly donated food, clothing and other necessities to the stranded crew of 44 until they could be repatriated to Russia three months later.

    Barista Uno, a blogger who writes about maritime issues, said the ship likely poses no danger as long as it is far from land or shipping lanes.

    "I'm not sure if phantom ships pose any more danger than manned ships," Uno said. "If out in the open sea, the phantom ship would have to be towed to harbor by an oceangoing tug, as its engine, navigational equipment etc., are likely to have problems. The question is, who would bother to recover the ship if it is in international waters and the legal owners are no longer interested in the asset?"

    Last April, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter sank a Japanese ghost ship in the Gulf of Alaska. The ship had been drifting across the Pacific since the 2011 tsunami, and was sunk after salvage efforts failed (Fox News, 2013).

    Title: Cunard Cruise Lines, Queen Elizabeth, Is The Third Norovirus Outbreak In March
    Date: March 13, 2013
    Source:
    Global Dispatch

    Abstract: At least 84 passengers were stricken with norovirus during a 36 day cruise to the South Pacific on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth, according to a KTLA.com report Tuesday.

    Cunard, the cruise ship line says only 4% of the more than  1900 passengers were sickened.

    This most recent outbreak follows two others that occurred during the month of March. Last Friday, it was reported that 121 passengers and crew were taken ill on Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas.

     A third outbreak in March, on Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess, affected over six percent of passengers and crew — or 276 out of a total ship population of 4,300 — on a 7-night Caribbean cruise (Global Dispatch, 2013).

    Title: New Carnival Nightmare: Passengers Being Flown Home From Troubled Cruise
    Date: March 14, 2013
    Source:
    Fox News

    Abstract: Another Carnival cruise liner is experiencing problems with its propulsion system amid reports of power outages and overflowing toilets while docked in the Caribbean, one month after a fire crippled the Carnival Triumph in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Carnival officials, in a statement to FoxNews.com, said the ship has a "technical issue" with its backup emergency diesel generator that is currently being worked on by its engineering team.

    “Yesterday, during regularly scheduled testing of the ship’s emergency diesel generator, a malfunction occurred,” the statement read. “At no time did the ship lose power and the ship’s propulsion systems and primary power source was not impacted. The ship is at dock in St. Maarten.  All guests are safe and comfortable.  There were periodic interruptions to elevators and restroom services for a few hours last night.  However, all hotel systems are functioning normally and have been functional since approximately 12:30 a.m.”

    Approximately 4,300 passengers and roughly 1,100 crew members were aboard the ship, a Carnival spokesman told FoxNews.com.

    A U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman in Miami told the Associated Press Thursday that Carnival Dream's captain reported possible trouble with the ship's propulsion system. Petty Officer Sabrina Laberdesque said the ship has sewage and power and officials are working to correct the problems. She says the Coast Guard is not involved because the ship is moored.

    Carnival officials said in a statement that they “can confirm only one public restroom was taken offline for cleaning based on toilet overflow and there was a total of one request for cleaning of a guest cabin bathroom. Aside from that there have been no reports of issues on board with overflowing toilets or sewage."

    As engineers work on the technical issue, arrangements are being made to fly all guests home via private charter flights and scheduled flights from St. Maarten. Passengers will receive a refund equivalent to three days of the voyage and 50 percent off a future cruise, Carnival officials said.

    The ship’s next voyage, scheduled for Saturday, has also been canceled. Guests scheduled to sail on that cruise will receive a full refund and 25 percent off a future seven-day cruise. Any non-refundable transportation related expenses will also be reimbursed.

    Multiple passengers aboard the Carnival Dream told CNN.com of the unpleasant unfolding situation while docked in port at Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

    "We are not allowed off of the boat despite the fact that we have no way to use the restrooms on board," Jonathan Evans of Reidsville, N.C., said in an email early Thursday. "The cruise director is giving passengers very limited information and tons of empty promises. What was supposed to take an hour has turned into seven-plus hours."

    Gregg Stark, who is traveling aboard the 1,004-foot liner with his wife and two children, said “human waste” was found on the floor of some of the ship’s bathrooms and that some toilets had overflowed. The ship also had mechanical issues, he said.

    "The elevators have not been working,” Stark told CNN. “They've been turning them on and off, on and off."

    Several passengers told The Associated Press, however, that power and water were out for just 10-20 minutes on Wednesday evening, contradicting reports of longer outages and unsanitary conditions.

    "We have toilets. We have water. It's no different than a regular day at sea," said 31-year-old Tasha Larson of Winston-Salem, N.C., after disembarking with her boyfriend to spend the day in St. Maarten.

    Mary and Terry Washington of Tampa, Florida, said the generator malfunction gave them an additional day to spend in St. Maarten. 

    "The plumbing is fine," Mary Washington said. "The food is fine. Everything is fine."

    Ship officials announced over the liner’s public address system that they were trying to fix the problem and were working on the generators. A few hours later, another announcement was made, saying the problem was worse than expected, Stark said.

    The Dream had been scheduled to leave port at about 5 p.m. ET Wednesday after sailing from Port Canaveral on Saturday.

    Vance Gulliksen, a Carnival spokesman, told CNN late Wednesday he wasn't aware of a problem. In a message posted on its Facebook page later Thursday, Carnival said there were brief interruptions to elevators and toilets Wednesday night.

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Carnival Corp. following last month’s fire in an engine room that crippled the Carnival Triumph, leaving more than 4,200 passengers without power or working toilets for five days.

    A Coast Guard official said a leak in a fuel oil return line caused the fire that disabled the massive 14-story vessel.

    Cruise industry expert Andrew Coggins, a former Navy commander who is now a professor at Pace University in New York, said the fire could potentially have been serious.

    "The problem is the oil's under pressure," he told the Associated Press. "What happens in the case of a fuel oil leak where you have a fire like that is it leaks in such a way that it sprays out in a mist. In the engine room you have many hot surfaces, so once the mist hits a hot surface it will flash into flame."

    Carnival's latest incident, meanwhile, highlights the "inherent vulnerabilities" of taking a cruise, Miami-based maritime attorney Robert Peltz told FoxNews.com.

    "Fortunately this latest incident occurred close to a port, but it does underscore the inherent vulnerabilities of cruise ship travel," Peltz said in a statement. "When a ship loses power while at sea, its passengers and crew are at severe risk for injury or death. Far too often, ships left without power are left at the mercy of unstable currents and unpredictable weather. The cruise industry needs to go beyond lip service and take meaningful steps to ensure this dangerous problem does not  continue to keep occurring" (Fox News, 2013).