Cruise Ship Terror Attack

OBAMACSI.COM: A cruise ship terror attack in America is imminent and Florida and/or Maryland appear to be the locations where the attack is most probable. While San Diego should also be considered, to date no relevant information or data regarding a cruise ship terror threat has been located. The most disturbing of all the news and information concerning an impending cruise ship attack is the terror drills the U.S. Coast Guard has conducted off the coast of Florida. These drills are cover for black operations and coincidentallythe use of pyrotechnics (explosives). All indications are that a major terror attack involving cruise ships is on the American horizon. 

1. Cruise Ship Breaking News: Recent news regarding cruise ships may indicate that a terror attack is imminent. Hundreds of students are moving to a cruise ship in Baltimore, and a terrorist hijacking of the ship may be the intended plan. Also, 2 recent deaths on a cruise ship raise suspicions that a cruise ship false-flag terror plot may be being groomed.

2. Cruise Ship Terror Drills: The news regarding cruise ship terror drills is shocking. In September and October of 2011, two terror drills have occurred in Florida as well as a Coast Guard pyrotechnics drill right off the Florida coast. If a cruise ship terror attack were to take place, Florida would be the optimal location due to its massive number of cruise ships.

3. Cruise Ship Terror Propaganda: The news and propaganda regarding cruise ships and terrorism has been rather steady since 9/11 and basically states that cruise ships are vulnerable and that terrorists want to target cruise ships.

4. Cruise Ship Terror Plots & Patsies: Since 9/11, there have been 5 cases located that indicate potential terror plots, most coming the way of bomb threats on cruise ships. In all cases, authorities boarded the ship but found nothing. These plots and patsies are likely orchestrated to give the public the notion that cruise ships are targets and that there has been a history of cruise ships being targeted for terror.

5. Cruise Ship Terror White Papers: 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. White papers are issues by governments to create plausible deniability and to psychologically prepare the public for the impending terror attack.

6. Cruise Ship Terror Security: The security implementations regarding cruise ships are relatively worthless in that they submit travel itineraries and fingerprints to Homeland Security but do nothing in the way of preventing state-sponsored terrorism. These draconian measures instituted in the post-9/11 era only further decrease the amount of people who want to cruise and terrorize the public in the process.


Recent news regarding cruise ships may indicate that a terror attack is imminent. Hundreds of students are moving to a cruise ship in Baltimore, and a terrorist hijacking of the ship may be the intended plan. Also, 2 recent deaths on a cruise ship raise suspicions that a cruise ship false-flag terror plot may be being groomed.

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

Abstract: A 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, reported.

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


The news regarding cruise ship terror drills is shocking. In September and October of 2011, two terror drills have occurred in Florida as well as a Coast Guard pyrotechnics drill right off the Florida coast. If a cruise ship terror attack were to take place, Florida would be the optimal location due to its massive number of cruise ships.

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

Abstract: Coast 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: 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).


The news and propaganda regarding cruise ships and terrorism has been rather steady since 9/11 and basically states that cruise ships are vulnerable and that terrorists want to target cruise ships.

Title: Seaports, Cruise Ships Vulnerable To Terrorism
Date: July 28, 2001
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).

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

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

Abstract: The 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?
Source: Cruise Mates

Abstract: And 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).


    Since 9/11, there have been 5 cases located that indicate potential terror plots, most coming the way of bomb threats on cruise ships. In all cases, authorities boarded the ship but found nothing. These plots and patsies are likely orchestrated to give the public the notion that cruise ships are targets and that there has been a history of cruise ships being targeted for terror.


    Date: February 11, 2009
    Name: Kelley Marie Ferguson
    Age: 20
    Ethnicity: White
    Ship: Legend of the Seas
    Location: Ensenada, Mexico
    Charges: 2 counts of violating terrorism laws
    Notes: Admitted penning two notes threatening to kill all U.S. citizens aboard the cruise ship.

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

    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).


    Date: March 28, 2010
    Name: Khalil Ibrahim Zarou
    Age: 31
    Ethnicity: Arab
    Ship: Carnival Sensation
    Location: Port Canaveral, Florida
    Charges: Cruise ship bomb threat
    Notes: Law enforcement boarded the ship and after conducting a search, determined the threat was a hoax, as no bomb was found.

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

    Abstract: A 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 and Eyewitness News for further updates on this story (WFTV, 2010).  


    Date: May 15, 2010
    Name: Unknown
    Age: ?
    Ethnicity: N/A
    Ship: Liberty of the Seas
    Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    Charges: Cruise ship bomb threat
    Notes: Officials investigated the threat but did not locate any explosives after they conducted a inspection of the watercraft.

    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).


    Date: February 5, 2011
    Name: Unknown
    Age: ?
    Ethnicity: N/A
    Ship: Norwegian Sun
    Location: Port Canaveral, Florida
    Charges: Cruise ship bomb threat
    Notes: Following an extensive security sweep, the unified command determined the bomb threat to be non-credible.

    Coast Guard Responds To Bomb Threat Aboard Cruise Ship In Port Canaveral, Florida
    February 5, 2011
    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).


    Date: August 19, 2011
    Name: Unknown
    Age: ?
    Ethnicity: N/A
    Ship: Discovery Sun
    Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    Charges: Bomb threat on a cruise ship.
    Notes: US Coast Guard boarded the ship but the initial search turned up nothing.

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

    Abstract: As 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).


    OBAMACSI.COM: 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. White papers are issues by governments to create plausible deniability and to psychologically prepare the public for the impending terror attack.

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

    AbstractPolicymakers 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 & 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

    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

    Abstract: A 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.

    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).

    MARITIME SECURITY: Varied Actions Taken to Enhance Cruise Ship Security, but Some Concerns Remain
    Date: April 2010
    United States Governmnet  Accountability Office


    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.


    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).


    The security implementations regarding cruise ships are relatively worthless in that they submit travel itineraries and fingerprints to Homeland Security but do nothing in the way of preventing state-sponsored terrorism. These draconian measures instituted in the post-9/11 era only further decrease the amount of people who want to cruise and terrorize the public in the process.

    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


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

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

    Date: April 24, 2008
    Source: Cruise Bruise

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

    : 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: 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).