Security Incidents

While CLIA cruise lines make every effort to deter criminal activity on board their ships, ship security staff must be prepared to effectively respond to an alleged incident. Many lines have already adopted security practices in accordance with this policy and it is envisioned that all members will develop security practices that advance this Policy. Nothing in this Policy is intended to detract from the Master’s overriding authority and responsibility to ensure the safety or welfare of his or her passengers, crew and ship.

This Policy is intended to identify steps to be considered in response to a security incident. The steps outlined in this policy are encouraged to be included in the training provided to shipboard staff. One source that may be utilized to train shipboard staff on the elements listed below is the incident scene management training materials prepared by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In addition to considering this Policy, each CLIA cruise line should prepare incident response procedures based on national (flag State) and international rules and regulations, other applicable laws and/or legal directives. Member procedures should emphasize the responsibility of ship Security Officers to exercise best efforts to provide for the safety and welfare of passengers, crewmembers, and ships. The procedures should also emphasize the responsibility of ship Security Officers to effectively preserve incident evidence for investigation by proper law enforcement authorities.

Abuse recognition and reporting

  • The safety of all involved persons and all persons in the area.
  • The involvement of medical assistance where appropriate.


Secure the incident scene

  • Establish and maintain control of the scene pending directives from law enforcement.


Reporting responsibilities

  • Given consideration for the circumstances, proper maritime authorities, law enforcement authorities, and shore side responders should be notified promptly of alleged crimes, security incidents or security threats in accordance with legal mandates.
  • In the case of persons suspected of having gone overboard, the Master should follow recognized, established maritime search and rescue practices.


Victim assistance considerations

  • Consider whether victims may require special accommodations or support services and arrange for such assistance as appropriate.
  • Inform the victim of the name of the law enforcement agency(s) to which the incident was reported and provide the victim with their contact information.



  • Depending on the circumstances, the following actions should be considered and where possible guided by involved law enforcement authorities:
    • follow direction and guidance from shore side security personnel and involved law enforcement authorities;
    • conduct interviews of appropriate involved persons, which may include victim(s), suspect(s), and witness(es);
    • identify the steps that should be taken to address the safety and security of all persons involved, the vessel, or any other persons on board; and
    • document pertinent facts and information.