Cruise ships an easy means of travel for would-be jihadis, says Interpol


International police body Interpol has said that some of would-be jihadis were using cruise ships as alternate travel means to reach conflict areas in Syria and Iraq.

Without disclosing details of countries and the number of people involved, Interpol outgoing chief Ronald Noble confirmed that Turkey was a destination.

Noble has also urged countries to bolster screening security procedures at all transportation hubs 'airports and, more and more, cruise lines.'

Interpol director of counterterrorism Pierre St Hilaire was quoted by Associate Press as saying: "Because they know the airports are monitored more closely now, there's a use of cruise ships to travel to those areas.

"There is evidence that the individuals, especially in Europe, are travelling mostly to [the Turkish coastal town of] Izmit."

"There is evidence that the individuals, especially in Europe, are travelling mostly to [the Turkish coastal town of] Izmit and other places to engage in this type of activity.

"In order to prevent their travel and identify them, there needs to be greater information sharing among the region, among national security agencies."

As a result, Interpol plans to expand a pilot programme, known as I-Checkit, to monitor cruise services through extending passenger lists from airlines to cruise operators.

Meanwhile, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has said that the passengers were already screened and systems were in place to confirm passengers' identities.

CLIA was quoted by the news agency saying: "Cruise lines employ full-time security professionals, many of whom are former law enforcement officers, who are in regular contact with local and international authorities."