Reuters is reporting that the Carnival Sensation cruise ship’s arrival back in Port Canaveral today was delayed for several hours as authorities responded to what some are saying is a bomb hoax.
The cruise ship was heading back to Port Canaveral after a three-day cruise to the Bahamas when a passenger allegedly overheard another passenger make a "bomb threat."
Reuters quoted the passenger allegedly saying:
"We are jihad. Come to the top deck and watch the bomb. The bomb is going to blow."
The FBI, U.S. Coast Guard and Brevard County sheriff’s deputies boarded the cruise ship at around 9:30 a.m. (approximately 5 – 6 hours after the incident) according to a U.S. Coast Guard press release. Passenger Ibrahim Khalil Zarou, 31, a U.S. citizen, of Leesburg, Virginia, was arrested.
There are conflicting stories about how the FBI is handling the matter. One newspaper suggests that a FBI agent later stated that there was no criminal conduct and the incident was just a "mis-communication" between passengers. But other sources say that Mr. Zarou had to post a $10,000 bail and will be prosecuted.
Passengers report the passenger was "highly intoxicated" – not an unusual thing on the Carnival fun ships, particularly early in the morning when the incident was reported. It is unknown whether the passengers reporting the incident were also drunk. It would be interesting to see how much money Carnival charged him for the booze sold during the cruise.
One thing to consider: Although this was a hoax or "mis-communication," U.S. authorities did not board the cruise ship until around 5 – 6 hours later – even though the cruise ship was sailing from Nassau back to Florida. Imagine if this had been a real jihadist attack, and the cruise ship was not near a U.S. port. How long would it take for U.S. authorities to appear?
Video WSVN 7