Published on Monday, February 1, 2016

CLIA responds to warning of cruise terror threat

CLIA has issued a statement reassuring cruise passengers in light of a warning of a security threat to ships in the Mediterranean.

Royal Navy officer, vice admiral Clive Johnstone CB CBE, has warned that Islamic State militants would like to build a maritime arm, posing a threat to Mediterranean cruise ships.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Johnstone said although he didn't think militant groups were targeting shipping, there was a 'horrible opportunity' a cruise liner or container ship could be hit.

"We know they have had ambitions to go off shore, we know they would like to have a maritime arm, just as al Qaeda had a maritime arm," he said.

"I think it won't be a planned, horrible mischievous act, I think it will be an act which is almost a mistake, or it will be an act of random terrorism that will suddenly have extraordinary implications for the Western world."

But CLIA said cruise lines coordinate closely with national and international security and law enforcement authorities around the globe to help ensure passenger safety.

"While we cannot disclose specifics of cruise ship security protocols, cruise lines take passenger safety very seriously," it said in a statement.

"Security staff are well-trained and experienced; some are former law enforcement officers. Port and onshore facilities, infrastructure, and passenger security and services in destinations are strictly scrutinized."

It said guests and crew are required to pass a rigorous screening process before boarding, just like airline passengers and crew.

All passengers, crew, and carry-on baggage are inspected before they set foot on the ship.

"In the event of any safety concerns, cruise ships have the flexibility to alter their itineraries as needed to avoid areas of higher risk. Our priority is to provide for the safety of passengers and crew at all times," it added.

Crystal Cruises and MSC Cruises recently suspended their calls in Turkey due to security concerns following a terror attack in Istanbul.

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