People, Travel

IS’s uncomfortable shadow

IS’s uncomfortable shadowIS’s uncomfortable shadow

Britain’s most senior naval officer in NATO has warned that cruise ships in the Mediterranean could be at risk of being targeted by the so-called Islamic State group, also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh and ISIS.

Vice Admiral Clive Johnstone said the spread of the organization in Libya had cast an “uncomfortable shadow” over the sea.

Johnstone said that IS was keen to build a navy to carry out attacks.

“We know they have had ambitions to go off shore, we know they would like to have a maritime arm, just as al Qaeda had a maritime arm,” he said, according to travel news website TTG Media.

He added: “There is a horrible opportunity in the future that a misdirected, untargeted round of a very high quality weapons system will just happen to target a cruise liner, or an oil platform, or a container ship.”

He said an attack on a ship would likely be a mistake or a random act of terrorism and that while there is no current threat, NATO had watched ISIS “grow and morph in such extraordinary ways”.

In response, cruise body Clia UK and Ireland said in a statement that cruise lines coordinate closely with national and international security and law enforcement authorities around the globe to help ensure passenger safety.

“In the event of any safety concerns, cruise ships have the flexibility to alter their itineraries as needed to avoid areas of higher risk. Our priority is to provide for the safety of passengers and crew at all times,” the statement read.

Users on TTG Media have accused Johnstone of fear mongering.

“Why is it any more of a target than people travelling into a big city such as London every day?” a user commented on the article.