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.