Carnival to install security system throughout its fleet

NEW YORK -- Carnival inked an agreement with Security Identification Systems Corp. (Sisco) of Palm Gardens, Fla., to install its automated personnel assisted security screening (A-PASS) system aboard Carnival's 14 ships.

The agreement to install an advanced electronic security system will add a new dimension to shipboard safety, as cruise fleets and ship size expand rapidly and concern over shipboard security grows.

Sisco will begin installing the system aboard Carnival ships later this year and expects to complete installation within 18 months, said a Carnival spokeswoman.

A-PASS will enable Carnival to record the identities of all crew and passengers through electronic photographs, and passenger photos will be linked to a combination room key/shipboard credit card/ID card.

Both crew and passengers will swipe their cards at the ship's gangway whenever boarding or leaving the vessel. Computer terminals monitored by shipboard personnel will display the cardholder's photo and other identifying information.

The system also tracks the cardholder's exact time of entry or departure and enables the vessel to keep an exact record of who is on board at any time.

The system "tremendously enhances our ability to track exits and entries to the vessels in addition to speeding the re-boarding process," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival's president.

A-PASS also enables the line to "easily and quickly transmit passenger manifests electronically to its home office and federal agencies," according to Carnival.

Federal monitoring of the cruise industry has reached an all-time high following this summer's release by Carnival of statistics showing that crew members were accused of sexual assault in 108 instances over a five-year period ending last summer.

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