Terror threats loom for cruise travelers in Europe; cruise lines cancel trips to Greece & Turkey
That long-planned trip coming up to cruise the Greek Isles or tour an European capital before boarding a ship?
It may be time to be sure that you bought travel insurance or to review your policy and speak to your travel agent. With terrorists attacking cruise ship passengers in Tunisia, and many cruise lines canceling trips to Turkey, Greece and Egypt, there are still many “soft targets” as the cruise lines step up cruises to and based in Dubai. The hot spots are getting hotter in the Middle East. Here are a few recent news items to consider:
Vienna police said a “friendly intelligence service” warned of possible attack
Police across Europe have ramped up security measures after receiving warning from a “friendly” intelligence service that capital cities across Europe could be the target of terrorist attacks before the end of December.
Police in Vienna, Austria, confirmed that an unnamed intelligence service issued warnings in the days before Christmas to capital cities across the continent of a possible shooting or bomb attack between Christmas and the New Year, reports NBC News.
Officials said increased security measures may include tightened surveillance, identity checks and alertness for objects that could carry explosive devices.
A spokesperson for the German Interior Ministry declined to comment on specifics but said that security measures had been adapted in response to the attacks in Paris more than a month ago.
“Germany is still in the crosshairs of Jihadist terrorism,” he said. ...MORE
ISIS Taunts US for failing to show up for war with ground troops
ISIS released a new audio message Saturday purportedly from its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, mocking the U.S. for not putting combat boots on the ground and criticizing the recently declared Saudi-led Islamic military coalition against terrorism.
Flashpoint Intelligence, a security firm and NBC News partner, verified that the message was released by the group’s main media arm via official channels online. NBC News, however, cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the audio.
The terror group’s top leader said in the 24-minute clip that ISIS was thriving and that airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition and Russia in Syria are failing, despite destroying Syrian oil facilities and killing several ISIS leaders in recent weeks. ….MORE
Nothing could be more explicit than this and make one consider switching cruise plans
Worldwide Travel Alert
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats. Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests. This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.
Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq. Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis. Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services. In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali. ISIL/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt. (Add in San Bernardino, Calif where ISIS devotees slaughtered fourteen people at a Christmas party.)
U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowded places. Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events. U.S. citizens should monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities. Persons with specific safety concerns should contact local law enforcement authorities who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country. U.S. citizens should:
- Follow the instructions of local authorities. Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
- Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
- Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
- Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
Foreign governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions. Authorities continue to conduct raids and disrupt terror plots. We continue to work closely with our allies on the threat from international terrorism. Information is routinely shared between the United States and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.
For further information:
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution,Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Update: 17 Cruise Passengers Dead in Tunis Attack; More Missing; Two Survivors
FROM CRUISE CRITIC:
(March 19, 2015, 1:30 p.m. EDT) — MSC Cruises has confirmed 12 passengers traveling on MSC Splendida were killed in the terrorist attack in Tunisia, and Costa Cruises has confirmed five passengers on Costa Fascinosa were also killed.
The MSC victims include two Colombians, three French, three Japanese, two Spanish, two British and two Belgians. The Costa victims are four Italians and one Russian.
A report in the Sydney Morning Herald indicated that one of the victims is a 28-year-old Australian-Colombian dual national studying in Sydney.
A further 13 MSC Cruises passengers are confirmed as injured: one Belgian, seven French, four Japanese and one South African, two of which are in serious condition. “All of them are being assisted in person by members of the MSC Cruises Crisis Team that was immediately sent to Tunis to provide on the ground support,” the company said.
The last two missing MSC passengers — a young Spanish couple — were found safe after a night in hiding at the Bardo National Museum, where the attack took place. Cristina Rubio Benlloch, who is pregnant, was immediately taken to hospital and she and the child are reported well.
MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago arrived in Tunis this morning (19th March) to meet the injured and their families and to ensure that they are receiving all the necessary assistance. He also met met the Tunisian Minister of Tourism, Ms. Salma Elloumi Rekik.
Costa Cruises confirmed eight passengers have been injured and are being treated in hospitals.
Fifteen Costa Care Team members are continuing to work closely with passengers and with local authorities.
Costa Senior Vice President Beniamino Maltese is also in Tunis taking care of the companions of the victims and of the eight passengers who are hospitalized.
Costa Fascinosa departed Tunis at 1:55 am on Thursday March 19th on its way to Palma, Mallorca. All passengers have been given the opportunity to disembark in Palma tomorrow (Friday March 20th) and Costa will fly them home.
Costa Cruises has observed a minute of silence at Costa Crociere headquarters in Genoa, in all its worldwide offices and onboard its ships. All the entertainment activities have been suspended onboard its fleet.
The Cruise Lines International Association released the following statement: “All of us grieve with the families and friends of the victims of yesterday’s tragic attack in Tunisia.
For many years, CLIA Member cruise lines have coordinated closely with national and international security and law enforcement authorities around the globe to help ensure passenger safety, and they will continue to do so. They also maintain a rigorous set of policies and procedures designed to safeguard passengers and to provide an immediate and effective response to any incident.
As always, CLIA will work with Member cruise lines and the authorities to assess measures that would help to provide additional passenger safety and security. We thank the Tunisian authorities for their assistance in providing aid and medical care to the injured and their families, and we commend Costa and MSC for their efforts to render comfort and aid to their passengers.”
According to reports, Tunisian authorities have arrested nine people in connection with the attack, which is being claimed by Islamic State extremists.
–By Louise Goldsbury, Australia Editor and Adam Coulter, UK Editor
Real terrorism is beginning to make the story line in the Marsha & Danny Jones Thrillers appear realistic rather than fictional
– Some realism-challenged readers have bashed these books as being right-wing and political. Current history is surely making them seem more realistic and predictive. – Be safe on your voyages, keep your wits about you but, by all means, continue to travel. Cruise travel remains the safest way to see the world and one of the best values. When you subscribe to my reader list you receive the first book for free and a chance to enter a giveaway for a Kindle Paperwhite