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Cruising for Trouble: Cruise Ships as Soft Targets for Pirates, Terrorists, and Common Criminals [Kindle Edition]

Mark Gaouette
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Cruising for Trouble exposes the acute vulnerability of cruise ships to piracy, terrorism, and crime, both on the high seas and in domestic and foreign ports-of-call. While cruise ships have ramped up in size and passenger capacity to become floating skyscrapers housing as many as 7,000 passengers, and while piracy incidents have increased since 2008 as the world economy has deteriorated, there has been no corresponding increase or enhancement in onboard security personnel, external tactical units, preventive screening, or coordinated response planning to guard against the growing threat of acts of piracy and internal and external terrorist attacks.

Commander Gaouette reveals to cruise passengers the very real security dangers they unwittingly face when they saunter up the gangway of a cruise ship for a carefree holiday. He sounds a clarion call to national and transnational security agencies, maritime regulators, legislators, and customers to compel the cruise industry to strengthen and reform its security programs before catastrophe strikes. The author, a longtime cruise industry insider who now serves as a top maritime security official in the Department of Homeland Security, details the many security defects and vulnerabilities of cruise ships, identifies the remedies, and makes the case for their urgent implementation. Extensively documented and illustrated, Cruising for Trouble is a vividly told cautionary for the ten million Americans who taken cruise-ship vacations each year and the millions more who would like to. As well as modeling the potential threats to cruise ships from pirates and maritime terrorists—who mimic each other's methods, overlap each other's territories, and might well find it mutually beneficial to combine their forces and resources—Commander Gaoutte recounts many actual examples of cruise-ship insecurity that have been swept under the carpet or spun by the cruise industry: pirate attacks, fires, onboard crime, mass food poisonings and infections, and the mysterious disappearances of cruise-ship passengers.

Editorial Reviews


• Critiques what the cruise industry has done and failed to do behind the scenes to ensure for the safety of the passengers who go on cruise vacations

• Discusses the governmental and international organizations devoted to protecting the maritime domain

• Covers in detail several high-profile investigations regarding cruise ship disappearances, mysterious deaths, and the response of the cruise lines

• Looks at maritime terrorism and its affect on the cruise industry from the seizure of the Achille Lauro in 1986, the attack on the USS Cole in 2000, to a planned terrorist attack on cruise ships in the Mediterranean in 2005

• A combination of photographs from the author, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Coast Guard, and API illustrate innovative security measures found on cruise ships, results of terrorist attacks, fire, piracy, and victims of cruise ship incidents.

• Provides a list of acronyms found throughout the book, such as the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) codes and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

• Includes over 500 endnote references

• Offers a comprehensive index


"From pirate attacks to crimes against passengers, Commander Gaouette's book offers a rare insider's view into the world of cruise ship security. Gaouette provides a unique perspective of the security challenges facing the cruise industry and its history of overboard passengers, sexual assaults, and unsolved crimes. Passengers should take notice that there are real dangers both onboard cruise ships and in the high seas surrounding them. This is an overdue wake up call to the cruise industry."


James Walker, Esq., maritime lawyer, 26 year member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States, and author of


Product Details

  • File Size: 3525 KB
  • Print Length: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (March 19, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003X96G0S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,385,419 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Biased but Very Informative February 22, 2011
By cjg8302
The book can't help but be a little biased in assuming that cruise ships are targets for terrorists and pirates. Of course they are. A lot of information is devoted to making the case for more security both on and off cruise ships and why passengers should assume more responsibility for their own safety. Not a book to read on how fun cruises can be but useful when discussing maritime security as it relates to cruise ship vacations.
I personally found this book very interesting. I was fascinated to hear first hand accounts of passengers missing or going over board. The chapters about terrorism were so interesting it was hard to put down and should raise some serious red flags with the cruise industry. I think this book should represent a real sea-change of how security and safety on these vessels is regulated by the governments of the world, marketed and perceived to you and me the consumer, and how the cruise line industry conducts their business in general.
In my opinion anyone that has ever been on a cruise or wants to go on one should read this book. It might make you think twice about going, and might also serve as a guide of what not to do on a cruise. I would like to see what else the author has up his sleeve for a follow up.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Average History Book - Very Interesting Topic February 15, 2011
Gaouette's book is as much a history lesson as a book on cruising. It is filled with personal experiences and anecdotes that help bring maritime history to life. I found the discussions on cruise ship terror plots a real eye opener. Can't help to think what would have happened if one of these plots had succeeded. I liked how the book was divided into short narratives on a wide variety of topics which made it easy to read. A little long winded in some parts however.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Researched, Well Documented, and Well Written February 22, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Using personal experiences and detailed sources, the author portrays cruise ship security and passenger safety as usually lacking. This book is a must read for anyone planning to take a cruise vacation. Explains what preparations cruise companies use to protect passengers on cruises far from the shores of the United States. Very relevant to the issue of pirate attacks on cruise ships and what cruise lines are doing about the threat. Especially interesting details on the pirate situation in Somalia. After reading the book, I can understand why Congress passed legislation last year to protect cruise ship passengers. Cdr. Gaouette explains how that process started and why it was needed. Highly recommended reading!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Reader
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book pinpoints the dangers and vulnerabilities of cruise ships operating far from the safety of the United States. Gaouette's has real relevance today as cruise ships begin pulling out of foreign ports of call because of acts of piracy - East Africa; high crime - Mexico and the Caribbean; and political unrest - Egypt, Libya and the Middle East. Also, great discussion of the State Department's travel warnings.
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