U.S. and Greek Special Forces Train for Cruise Ship Hijacking Scenarios

A December 6, 2018 article in TheNewsRep.com website outlines information related to cruise ship hijacking scenarios and how United Stated special forces might respond to those incidents.

Titled “ISIS terrorists have just hijacked a cruise ship’: Greek and US SOF train for contingencies” – the article states a basic premise:

Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists have stormed a cruise ship full of unaware tourists somewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean. The U.S. Special Operations Command Europe has been alerted and swiftly deploys its SOF units to Greece. There, the American commandos link up with their Greek counterparts and prepare to storm the vessel.

SOCEUR stands for U.S. Special Operations Command Europe. In their annual readiness exercise, Jackal Stone 18, U.S. and Greek special forces units will conduct exercises related to cruise ship hijacking and other scenarios that would involved combined efforts and interaction of the two military arms.

Per the article, “The exercise will begin from the United States Naval Support Activity (NSA) Souda Bay. Thereafter, the different scenarios will take the SOF units from small islets in the Mediterranean Sea to Chania to downtown Iraklio, Crete’s largest city. USN Captain Ryan T. Tewell, Commander of NSA Souda Bay, will exercise overall control.”

The reality is that many cruise lines do sail their vessels in waters that could be dangerous and open to threat from terrorist activities (an advanced approach compared to existing pirate attacks on fishing and commercial vessels in the Middle East, Africa and India. Many websites have predicted that a terrorist group will one day attack a cruise ship.

A 2010 book by Mark Gaouette, titled, Cruising for Trouble: Cruise Ships as Soft Targets for Pirates, Terrorists, and Common Criminal is previewed by Amazon as: an alarming inside look at the security preparations of the cruise industry and the potential for cruise ships to be the target for pirates, terrorists, and criminal activity.”

Terrorist attacks on cruise liners do have precedent, as four Palestinian terrorists boarded the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro near Alexandria, Egypt in 1985, killing American passenger, 69-year-old Leon Klinghoffer.

 Other reports like this one have outlined the attractiveness of cruise ships as terrorism targets. The U.S. military among others will continue to plan and prepare for likely eventual incidents as cruise ships are targeted.