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Cruise Industry's Commitment to Safety & Security Practice

Snapshot of Safety & Security Measures

  • Secure environments with 24-hour security personnel
  • 100% screening of passengers, crew, all luggage
  • Security checkpoints for passengers and crew upon embarking and disembarking
  • Sprinklers and smoke detectors in every cabin
  • 5 firefighting teams with advanced firefighting training, 4,000 smoke detectors, 500 fire extinguishers, 16 miles of sprinkler piping, 5,000 sprinkler heads and 6 miles of fire hose on an average CLIA ship

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) member cruise lines are required to comply with all international, flag and port state standards and regulations to ensure the safety and security of passengers. As an international industry, we are proud of our safety record and long-standing relationship with law enforcement agencies around the world, including the FBI and U.S. Coast Guard.

Committed to Keeping Passengers Safe and Secure

Serious crime aboard cruise ships is very rare. The industry has zero tolerance when it comes to crime.

Cruise ships are required to report all allegations of serious crime to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. All such crimes involving U.S. citizens anywhere in the world while at sea are to be reported to the FBI, regardless of ship registration. In 2007, the U.S. Coast Guard testified before Congress that these procedures are working and that it does not believe Americans are at any significant crime risk while aboard cruise ships.

When an alleged crime is reported, cruise lines’ security personnel follow procedures, developed in part by the FBI, to secure a crime scene and preserve evidence that will be investigated by law enforcement officials once they board a ship. If an alleged crime is sexual in nature, on-board medical personnel are to be trained in such examinations and the proper use of evidence collection kits.

All major North American cruise ship companies have policies in place to conduct background checks of all the employees that are hired to work onboard their ships.  In addition all cruise ships entering the United States must provide a full manifest of passengers and crew to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Coast Guard for the purpose of conducting background checks. Additionally, any foreign crew member that seeks to disembark at ship at a U.S. Port must obtain a C1D visa which requires a background check before it can be issued.

Cruise ship design, construction and operations are governed by internationally-mandated standards designed to maximize the safety of passengers. Such standards have been adopted by those governments affected by cruising, including the United States. In addition to frequent flag state and shipping classification society inspections, the U.S. Coast Guard conducts annual inspections and regular reinspections of cruise ships that visit U.S. ports. They also inspect ship design and visit the ship during construction to ensure international and U.S. codes are being met.

CLIA's Security Committee, comprised of security officers from the member cruise lines, maintains a schedule for meetings every 60 days with law enforcement and intelligence agencies to discuss relevant issues, such as intelligence assessments. CLIA member lines are required to have thorough security plans and protocols in place and follow international guidelines to help ensure ship and passenger safety.

All cruise ships must have sufficient lifeboats, life rafts and life preservers for every person on board. Lifeboats are capable of being loaded, launched and maneuvered away from the ship within 30 minutes of the Master's signal to abandon ship.

Regulatory Framework

CLIA cruise lines must comply with international standards applicable to oceangoing vessels. In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard enforces federal regulations on ships that visit U.S. ports.

International Regulations
Flag State Regulations
Port State Regulations
(e.g. United States)
  • International: International Maritime Organization (IMO), Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS), International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS)
  • United States: U.S. Coast Guard Control Verification Certificate, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Maritime Transportation Security Act, Department of Homeland Security

CLIA is the world's largest cruise industry trade association and is dedicated to the promotion of a safe and secure cruise ship environment. CLIA is composed of cruise lines serving North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australasia for whom the safety of guests and crew has no higher priority. With the advice and consent of its membership, CLIA advances policies intended to enhance shipboard safety, in some cases calling for best practices in excess of existing legal requirements.