Navy vessel, three cruise ships cancel St.
Maarten calls after threat of terrorist attack
By John Collins (1)
visit of the USS Gettysburg to Dutch St. Maarten was cancelled after a threat of
terrorist attacks against three cruise ships resulted in their being diverted to
the threat of the terrorist attacks was later declared to be a hoax, the damage
had already been done as the popular cruise ship port, popular for its shopping,
lost million of dollars in revenues.
several cruise ships call at St. Maarten each week, the cancellation of the
Gettysburg was particularly hurtful because it was the first visit of a U.S.
Navy vessel to St. Maarten since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S.
visit of a Navy ship, especially one with hundreds of sailors, for four days,
has a big impact on the island’s tourism-based economy. Sailors are
particularly popular with business people in St. Maarten because, in addition to
shopping and patronizing hotels, restaurants and bars, a number of which count
them among their best customers.
was the reaction of Janet Taylor-Lambert, the president of the local chapter of
the United Services Organization (USO). “We’re extremely disappointed by the
cancellation and worry about the ‘domino effect’ because bad news travels
fast,” she said.
that initial jolt, the Norway, the Century and the Carnival Pride, each with
passenger counts of 2,000 or more, all cancelled.
the Dutch St. Maarten government declared the threat was declared a hoax, it
moved swiftly into a damage control mode in an effort to control further fall
out from the incident.
Maarten is a safe and secure destination,” declared Lt. Gov. Franklyn
Richards. “Punitive measures are being contemplated against the person behind
the hoax.” A local resident has already been identified by the police.
a result of the cancellations the town, usually crowded with tourists, was
virtually deserted, much to the dismay of merchants and taxi drivers.
said the government was informed by the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association
(FCCA) that the ships were diverted because of weather and not because of
letter including the threat. But the managing director of the Ports Authority
said that there were no adverse weather conditions in the area at the time the
threat was received.
letter indicated that jet-skis packed with explosives were to be used as the
weapon in the attack. The governor moved immediately to increase security
measures in the port to the top level and the FCCA announced that there have
been no other cancellations.
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