Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Bomb scare delays arrival of cruise ship

Bomb scare delays arrival of cruise ship

By Donna Tunney
A bomb scare caused a day-cruiser operated by Discovery Cruise Line to arrive several hours late into Fort Lauderdale on Aug. 19.

According to Broward Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mike Jachles, someone called Miami-Dade police around 6 p.m. Aug. 18, telling authorities that a man aboard the 900-passenger Discovery had a gun and a bomb. The ship was en route to Fort Lauderdale from the Bahamas when the call came in. The ship was due to arrive at 10 p.m.

Jachles said law enforcement notified the ship and told the crew to suspend sailing until officials could reach and board the ship.

Coast Guard and sheriff’s office staff boarded the ship around midnight, about 18 miles off Fort Lauderdale. They used bomb-sniffing dogs and determined the vessel was safe.

The Discovery arrived in Fort Lauderdale around 4 a.m. Friday, where another more thorough search was completed.

“We have to take any threat seriously,” said Jachles, “even though real bombers don’t make threats — they blow things up.”

Hanns Hahn, general manager and vice president of Discovery Cruise Line, said the ship has been operating normally since the incident. The ship sails roundtrip to the Bahamas once a day.

As reported, the line will cease operations on Sept. 6 due to financial difficulties.

Hahn said this was the only time that Discovery’s operations had been affected by a bomb threat.

“I guess we had to get that in before we shut down,” he said.

Jachles said an investigation into the incident is continuing, and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is involved.