Today I returned to work after a week’s "Spring Break" vacation to find a recently published cruise line security book sitting on top of a large pile of pleadings on my desk.
"Cruising for Trouble" is written by Commander Mark Gaouette, the former Director of Security for Princess Cruises and Cunard Cruise Lines. His book addresses security challenges facing the cruise industry and its history of overboard passengers, sexual assaults and unsolved crimes.
Commander Gaouette has been deeply involved in protecting the security interests of the U.S. Government and the U.S. Navy. He is a former Special Agent with the U.S. Department of State’s prestigious Bureau of Diplomatic Security. During his career, he served as a Regional Security Officer at five high-threat U.S. Embassies including Moscow (Russia), and Beirut (Lebanon). Mark Gaouette has extensive maritime experience with the U.S. Navy and served as a Surface Line Officer and as a Naval Intelligence Officer in the U.S Naval Reserve.
The preface to the book was written by Ken Carver, President of the International Cruise Victims organization:
"Commander Mark Gaouette USNR (Ret.) 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 take 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 Gaouette recounts many actual examples of cruise-ship insecurities that have been swept under the carpet or or spun by the cruise industry: pirate attacks, fires, onboard crime, and the mysterious disappearances of cruise-ship passengers."
I also had an opportunity to critique the book. My comments are published on the back cover.