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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cruising...The Safest Way to Travel

During the past two decades, North American cruise lines have compiled the best safety record in the travel industry while transporting, entertaining and pampering tens of millions of people throughout the world.

The cruise industry's highest priority is to ensure the safety and security of its passengers and crew.

• Cruise passengers should be very comfortable with the additional security measures they may see during their cruise vacation. This includes 100 percent screening of passenger luggage and carry-on articles, the use of canine inspections, additional security personnel and controls, and waterside escorts when entering or leaving a port.

• At U.S. cruise terminals, security includes screening procedures similar to those found at airports, including the use of metal detectors for embarking passengers. All crew members and guests appear on an official manifest and may embark or disembark only after passing through strict security. Government issued identification is required for all guests and crew members at every point of embarkation.

• Highly trained security personnel are employed on board every vessel with the sole purpose of keeping the guests, crew and vessel safe and secure. Many of these officers are former law enforcement or military personnel.

• Ships and port facilities worldwide are subject to international security regulations through the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. All ocean going CLIA cruise ships are in compliance with the ISPS Code, which requires all ships and port facilities worldwide to have formal security plans in place.

• Cruise lines have had detailed security plans in place for over a decade and can readily implement their highest levels of security. Following Sept. 11, 2001, the cruise lines were able to continue to operate in the days following because of their extensive preparedness and security plans.

The cruise industry's highest priority is to ensure the safety and security of its passengers and crew.

• A cruise ship is comparable to a secure building with a 24-hour security guard - it's a controlled environment with limited access.

• All cruise ships must meet safety standards set by the International Maritime Organization enforced through the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and are regularly inspected. Ships operating from U.S. ports also are subject to U.S. federal and state regulations as well as regular safety inspections by the U.S. Coast Guard.

• No other form of transportation offers such a variety of safety equipment and trained personnel for the protection of its customers. The average response time in an emergency is a matter of minutes, as trained fire teams and emergency crews are stationed on board only a few hundred feet away from the scene of any possible incident. The average cruise ship has more than 4,000 smoke detectors and five firefighting teams on board.

• Compared to FBI crime statistics, being on a cruise ship is safer than being virtually anywhere in the U.S. in terms of crimes of any type. All CLIA cruise lines adhere to a unified industry standard zero tolerance - for crime on board.

• Cruise lines operate within a legal framework under which international, federal and state authorities investigate crimes on board cruise ships. All allegations of crimes involving U.S. citizens are reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and alleged crimes against Americans can be investigated and prosecuted under U.S. federal statutes even if they arise on cruise ships outside of U.S. waters.

• In the rare event of an incident, the cruise industry takes all allegations and incidents seriously, reports them to the proper authorities and fully cooperates in any investigation. In many instances, cruise lines do not publicly disclose detailed information to comply with directions from law enforcement and out of respect for the families involved.

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