From News.com.au / Sunday Mail (QLD)Sniffer dogs for cruise liners
From: The Sunday Mail (Qld)
April 02, 2006
CRUISE-SHIP passengers will be checked by drug sniffer dogs as part of a security shake-up in the wake of Dianne Brimble's shocking death.
The upgrade by P&O Cruises Australia will also include the installation of closed-circuit surveillance cameras throughout ships in the fleet.
In its first public statement since Mrs Brimble's ordeal was revealed at a coronial inquest, P&O Cruises Australia has vowed to do everything possible to protect passengers on its ships.
A spokeswoman said the company was fully co-operating with the Brimble investigation and inquest and could not comment specifically on the case - but was determined there would be no repeat of the tragedy.
"We cannot begin to imagine what Mrs Brimble and her family went through, and we are determined to do everything in our power to ensure that this never again happens on board one of our ships," she said.
Security procedures had been boosted after Mrs Brimble's death, including increasing the number of guards on liners.
"We have identified further improvements that we are in the process of introducing, both on board and ashore," the spokeswoman said.
At present, people travelling by cruise ship, like airline passengers, are subject to random checks by Customs sniffer dogs.
Under the new rules, no one will be allowed to board a liner without being checked by a drug dog.
Anyone found in possession of drugs will be forbidden to board and handed over to police.
From June, P&O Australia's fleet will be equipped with surveillance cameras to monitor areas around the ships.
An inquest last month heard that during a cruise in September, 2002, Mrs Brimble, a 42-year-old mother of three from Brisbane, had been drugged, subjected to degrading sex acts and photographed before being left to die naked on the floor of a cabin shared by four men.
About 160,000 Australians take a cruise each year - an increase of 40 per cent in the past four years.
P&O says there has been no drop-off in bookings or rise in complaints about cruises.
The P&O spokeswoman told The Sunday Mail: "Since the incident in September, 2002, we have implemented a number of improvements to our security procedures. These include dedicated qualified shoreside and seagoing security officers and a significant increase in the number of trained and licensed security personnel on each of our ships."