RetRetired Navy Admiral Considers Cruise Ships Vulnerable to Terrorist Attack

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A retired Navy admiral recently said he is very concerned about terrorists launching an attack on a cruise ship, and days later the media erroneously reported that a cruise ship had been the subject of a mass casualty event.

On June 30, the Business Insider website reported that retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis considers cruise ships as a potentially “lucrative” soft target, which could easily be attacked by terrorists. Specifically, the former Adm. said that should terrorists smuggle a weapon of mass destruction onto a cruise line, the results could be devastating.

"Secondly, these huge cruise ships are big lucrative targets. They’re not very well defended. You could see a USS Cole-style attack on one of them. At the really dark end of the spectrum, you could see terrorists actually trying to infiltrate a cruise and acting on a captive audience at sea," Stavridis said.

Highlighting the risk, a cruise ship docked at Portland yesterday with four passengers in need of medical attention. Though the incident was initially reported as a mass casualty even event, authorities eventually recognized the fact that there had been multiple people hurt on the ship in separate incidences, and notified the media.

The above misunderstanding underscores the need for clear and effective communication and coordination among authorities, especially if Admiral Stavridis is right.