Security chiefs from Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, and Holland America Line say they follow these procedures when hiring security personnel for their ships.
Who gets hired: Onboard security guards and officers, as well as security leaders at company headquarters, usually have worked in the security industry, law enforcement, government or military service in their native country. Job applicants are screened by employment agencies that conduct background checks. Applicants for top-level shipboard security positions are interviewed in their home country by cruise line security directors. As part of the interview process, these candidates are asked how they would handle hypothetical situations. They also must pass language and writing tests.
How they’re trained: Onboard security personnel are trained to handle situations ranging from crowd control to terrorism threats. When a criminal incident occurs — or there are allegations that a crime occurred at sea — ship security workers are taught to observe and report. They are not trained in traditional law enforcement interview and interrogation techniques. However, they receive FBI instruction on how to collect written statements from victims, witnesses and suspects and how to preserve crime scenes and physical evidence.
Who’s in charge: At sea, ship captains are responsible for the safety of passengers, crew and the vessel. They have the authority to kick off anyone who poses a threat. Sometimes, a ship captain will delegate or share some of this responsibility with staff captains, who rank directly below them and handle matters involving passengers and crew. Security officers, and guards reporting to them, respond to shipboard incidents and allegations. Security leaders on shore often direct onboard personnel in the handling of serious onboard incidents. These leaders have wide-ranging expertise in investigations, and often held positions of high authority in U.S. law enforcement or military. Shoreside leaders notify law enforcement about incidents.
Training updates: Security officers and guards are trained on security and safety procedures each year. Some cruise lines have trainers who evaluate security staff and practices, conducting follow-up training as needed.