St. Maarten Hoax Diverts Ships

May 23, 2002
In St. Maarten yesterday a terrorist threat -- now determined to be a hoax -- resulted in three ships missing a scheduled port of call there. Carnival Pride, Celebrity Century and Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norway were all routed away from St. Maarten. “There was a threat,” confirms Celebrity Cruise Lines’ Michael Sheehan. “The cruise lines were notified.” Sheehan says that the only impact the event had on passengers on Celebrity’s Century was an unscheduled day at sea.
The threat, thought by St. Maarten officials to come from a local resident, came in the form of a two-page letter on Monday, part of which is quoted in local news reports: "The time of the attack will be when everyone has boarded already, so the disaster will be more devastating. I have passed this information to the United States Federal authorities, namely the FBI, and some U.S. citizens living on the island already as a preventative measure against an eventual attack and I was advised to keep the local authorities abreast." According to the report in St. Maarten’s Daily Herald, the author also said that a possible weapon in the attack would be jet-skis packed with explosives.
The culprit has been identified and questioned -- and is no longer a threat -- and tourism and port officials in St. Maarten say that its port is safe -- and open again for business. Indeed, Celebrity says it has no qualms whatsoever about its ships resuming regular calls at St. Maarten.