Maritime Security: Varied Actions Taken to Enhance Cruise Ship Security, but Some Concerns Remain, Report to the Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security, House of Representatives   [open pdf - 2MB]

"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 [Government Accountability Office] 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. GAO recommends that the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the unified border security agency in DHS, conduct a study to determine whether requiring cruise lines to provide passenger reservation data to CBP would benefit homeland security, and if found to be of substantial benefit, determine the appropriate mechanism to issue this requirement. DHS concurred with our recommendation."

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Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
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