New controls strengthen cruise safety, security

Published: Nov/Dec 2000

In a move to tighten shipboard safety and security, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International have begun the process of installing a state-of-the-art security system on all of their ships.

Developed by Security Identification Systems Corporation (SISCO), the system will control all access and exits from the ships through an interactive, high-speed photo identification process called A-PASS (Automated Personnel Assisted Security Screening). Guests activate the system prior to boarding the ship for the first time by inserting their boarding card at a pier-side kiosk, which triggers a built-in camera to take their photograph and store it to the ship’s database.

Subsequently, each time guests exit or board the ship, they insert their card in the kiosk and computer terminals monitored by the ship security track their exit and entry. The database also holds a record of all valid crew members onboard.

The A-Pass system also enables ship personnel to generate an immediate guest or crew manifest and monitor individuals onboard the ship at any given time. They also can alert guests and crew members to urgent messages when they return from a day in port. The guests will then be directed to go to the Guest Relations desk to receive the actual messages.

“This is more than a security device,” said Rick Sasso, president of Celebrity Cruises. “It will help us better track passengers, deliver important messages and ensure our guest list is complete at any time.”

The first ships to feature the technology will be Royal Caribbean International’s Grandeur of the Seas and Celebrity Cruises’ Century. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. operates both Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises with a combined fleet of 17 vessels and 12 additional ships under construction or on order.

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