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US Customs officials don't check passports anymore????

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posted on May, 23 2005 @ 09:18 AM
Is our Guard let down again?

I recently took a crusie for my Honeymoon to the Carribean, and I was curious to see what type of Security they would have on the cruise ships getting off and coming home. I know what a pain it is for some to fly, having to remove shoes, getting felt up, I was anxious to see what would occur as was suprised at the END of the trip.

First, as we were getting on the ship, we went through a metal detector, and they X-rayed our baggage. Then they brushed us each with the wand and we were on our way. The entire time we got on the bus for the trip to the ship, I did not see ONE law enforcement or military vehicle. We Went through a "security checkpoint gate" with no attendees. The first official vehicle I saw was a Homeland Security boat, parked just off the front of the ship. Teh boat followed us out a few miles, and turned off home again.

(HAd a great week in Mexico. See the MAyan ruinsm, they are awesome)

Now, Coming home, we got off the ship and we went to get our baggage. mind you baggage claim is a large room, no tags to match, nothing. No police, or dogs. Nothing. We picked up our luggage and we went to the customs officials. I handed him my wifes passport, and my license and birth certificate inside. He set it down, asked me for my customs sheet, and then immediately handed me back the passport, and waved my on. He did not even OPEN the goddamn thing. Is this standard procedure??? I could have a chemical or bio agent in my bag, or I could have bought that pound back from Cozumel (just kidding) Now, after Oklahoma City, I realized that we have domestic terrorism, and profiling only Arabs is incorrect, we should monitor everyone.

Please Realize, this is the Port of Tampa, one of the largest ports in America. Macdill AFB ,CENTCOM and SOCOM HQ are less than 2 miles away, you know, where the war is played out.

I could have had ANYTHING in my carry on or luggage and they would have not known. The thing that gets me is that Mexico is where the terrorists are supposed to be coming over the border from ( google for numerous articles) , and here there is no security coming back into the US.

Am I paranoid, or is security here lacking????? I mean, even Costa MAya had armed soldiers on the pier where we docked.

It is all run from here folks, what better place to strike......

posted on May, 23 2005 @ 09:25 AM
See the thing is, you "think" u need the sercuity but you dont....
Terroism is not happening everywhere at the same time, yes u could of bought back this and that and this and that, but 99.99999999% of people dont but seeing all the time on the news about terroists and drug smugglers makes people think they are everywhere and everywhere needs sercuity because of it.
Terroism as known by the media controled masses today is a illusion. Dont get me wrong there is terroism, but the media has blown it way out of proportion. Dont worry your nice a safe.

posted on May, 23 2005 @ 09:33 AM
There's a simple reason for this... Customs isn't required to check your passport, only Immigration Officers are. Many customs officials still do though as a method of verifying ID.

-koji K.

posted on May, 23 2005 @ 09:33 AM

I recently took a crusie for my Honeymoon to the Carribean

That's the thing....this is one istance you made reference to.

Now if this happens at the Airport.....then we are in deep poop.

BTW: Congrats on the honeymoon
, did you recently get married or is this a redo?

posted on May, 23 2005 @ 11:12 AM
Security on cruise ships / ports of call are meant to be like that... It's there, you just don't see it.

Assuming you took a popular cruise line (Ie. Carnival, Royal Carribean, Celebrity, Norweigen, Etc.) you were probly asked to leave your bags out the night prior, or a few hours before disembarkation. It was ship staff that took your bags, and left them in the "luggage area" (sorted by what deck you were on.) Anyhow, on it's way to the luggage area it is put through various tests, most of which are non-invasive, yet still able to determine whether or not there is illegal substances, and/or items that would cause concern.

If you brought home any types of banned orgas (Ie. "exotic fruits/animals/plants"), or Items not allowed into the U.S. (Ie. A cigar with a Cuban foil AKA "Cuban Cigars") they most likely would not be in the bag when you unpacked. If you for some odd reason had a weapon, and/or explosive in your luggage you would have been greeted by some not so friendly port security personnel (If it was tampa, it most likely would have been USCG, accompanied by DHS).

Most of the times the USCG, or DHS will actually board the vessel, and watch as the bags are put through testing. If you came to port at night (which is usually the case) they come so quietly that most patrons on the ship have no idea that the CG/DHS is on board. Next time you go on a cruise, stay up the night that you're pulling into port, eventually if you wait long enough, you'll see the Coast guard, or DHS board your vessel (Remember you need to be on deck to see it, you can see very little from your cabin, unless you've got a balcony.). Coast Guard boats will either be White/Orange Stripe, or Grey/Orange Stripe. DHS boats tend to be all Yellow with Black DHS lettering on deck.

At individual ports of call it is common practice to scan the patrons SNS card (most likely your room key if you took Carnival, or Celebrity) along with a photo ID. Often times they'll also make you look into an "I Box" (It was the box with a black plastic square in it that they made you look at when you boarded the vessel) from they're they compare your face to the file photo they have. (Photo you took when you boarded.) The individual contries you went to are responsible for their own port security. Seeing that you went to mexico (It's become so westernized now), remember that "L shaped" walkway over the water you took to get to the actual mainland itself (the area with all the raised restaurants)? Well in the corner of that very walkway is the MPSO office. Inside that office is 7 of the baddest mofo's you've ever seen in your life... all of them are armed (Last time I went they had what looked like M4's, and 1 of them had what I'm certain was a Benelli M1). Making a ruckus anywhere near that area is something you DONT want to do.

Anyhow, security is there, and strong. It's just been done so well, for so long that it's like clock work. You don't even know it's there, and working. Next time you cruise, you definitely gotta see the coast guard / DHS board your ship. It's one of the most coolest things ever, not to mention that they make it look like boarding a moving ship is one of the easiest thing to do on earth.


[edit on 23-5-2005 by microcosm]

posted on May, 23 2005 @ 12:55 PM
Yes, I did not mention the security with cards at each port which was good, but I did not see any boarding in the morning (We had an extended balcony, deck 8) but I did hear the dogs from 5 to 8 AM the day we came back to Tampa.

I understand that their must be some type of quiet search, but I felt that next time I went i could easily smuggle back anything I want. As for the Passport, you are supposed to have ID in hand and ready to present After leaving the ship and exiting, not netering, the baggage claim. Besides, they are all part of the DHS now, check the link.

It was just a little unnerving seeing as I live in St Pete just across the water. We see the Blackhawks up and down the coast along with the good ole USCG so we know there is a presence in the area. I guess I would just like a few guys with M-16's from Macdill posted to deter ANY possibility, you know what I mean?

(PS. First Marriage, Did the Mayan ruins which were awesome)

posted on May, 23 2005 @ 01:19 PM
this just proves how ineffective the homeland security plans are. now i know it just wouldnt work to check everyone because it would make ticket and boarding lines so long. But amazingly enough it just shows how the "random" check doesnt work because you could have easily taken something illegaly into (or out of) the country.

By the way...Congrats on your Honeymoon

posted on May, 23 2005 @ 04:16 PM
I worked on one of the most popular cruise ships for 1 season (8 straight, full months). All I can really say is security is there, and they do their jobs. Baggage goes through a wide array of machines, and hand performed tests to detect the presence of illegal goods/items. If you honestly think you can smuggle a weapon onboard, or off you seriously are kidding yourself. The security is there, just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it's not there. You can't even get a unmodified cuban cigar off of a ship (there are ways to do it, but it involves modifying the foil/band of the cigar, and doing some other things to it.), never mind a gun.

Anyhow... I never worked on shipboard security, or portside security (I worked in meteorology on 2 different ships), so I couldn't tell you all the details as to what they do, because I simply do not know. All I do know is; as someone who's atleast walked by the main security offices (which was huge!), and as someone who's atleast seen some of the items security managed to detect in bags , and take out (for instance, banned fruits, and decorative pocket knives people buy on land, and try to bring back on board.) I feel totally safe.

From what I've seen; I'd be less concerned about the security situation onboard your ship. Instead I'd be more concerned about if your captain is a piss drunk that the cruise line decided to pick up from Italy because he has had a few years experiance in the mediterranean. That goes for EVERY OFFICER up in the bridge too. The fact that a first officer incharge of navigation was about to plot a course directly through a tropical depression with the right conditions to rapidly turn into a tropical storm (which it did, within 30 hours) seems a lil scary to me... especially considering that he had the charts we just made up for him no more than 30 minutes before.

[edit on 23-5-2005 by microcosm]

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