Friday, May 14, 2010

Maritime Security—Actions Taken to Enhance Cruise Ship Security, but Concerns Remain

In an extensive investigation and analysis of cruise ship security, the U.S. Government Accountability Office generally gives high marks to the industry and the maritime safety and law-enforcement agencies tasked with protecting cruise ships. Still, nearly everyone associated with cruise ships is sensitive to the possibility that a single terrorist act could inflict huge losses on the industry. While loss of life is the paramount concern in safety efforts, the loss of billions of dollars in bookings would represent a body blow that might extend for years. "A successful attack on a cruise ship in or near U.S. waters that resulted in the closure of a U.S. port or discouraged cruise travel would likely harm the U.S. economy because of the significant economic impact that ports contribute to the U.S. economy," the GAO report said.

In 2008, more than 9.3 million passengers boarded cruise ships in U.S. ports, with roughly 3,900 cruises emanating from 30 U.S. ports. The ships continue to get larger, and so do the security stakes. For many reasons -- visibility, predictable sailing schedules, and large floating targets -- the GAO says the U. S. Coast Guard considers cruise ships to be "highly attractive targets to terrorists." The good news is that the National Maritime Intelligence Center did not have a single credible terrorist threat against cruise ships in 2009. There has been a sustained increased in overt efforts to protect cruise vessels, including providing Coast Guard escorts, more aggressive reviews of crew and passenger manifests, and stepped up security by the cruise lines themselves.

  • "Maritime Security—Varied Actions Taken to Enhance Cruise Ship Security, but Some Concerns Remain", GAO, April 2010.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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