Threats on Cruise Ship Prompt Federal Investigation

Tuesday, April 29, 2003
A 20-year-old woman is facing two counts of terrorism-related charges after allegedly penning threatening notes aboard Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas. As a result of the notes, the Legend of the Seas sailing was interrupted for federal investigation of the vessel and to question its 2,400 passengers and crew members. The Legend of the Seas was diverted from its planned destination of Hilo, Hawaii on April 23, to an anchorage located off of Oahu, Hawaii.

During the investigation, Kelley Marie Ferguson of Laguna Hills, Calif., confessed to writing the two notes threatening to kill all U.S. citizens aboard the Legend of the Seas in hopes of ending a family vacation early to return to her boyfriend. She appeared in federal court Monday and a hearing is set for Thursday. More than 120 members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force performed a protective sweep aboard the ship for biological, chemical, radiological and explosive weapons, officials said. Daniel R. Dzwilewski, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Honolulu office, said, after a protective sweep of the Legend of the Seas, United States Coast Guard Admiral Utley approved the recommendation to allow the ship to continue to its next port of call. The vessel was released by authorities yesterday. The protective sweep of the ship did not identify any items to corroborate the threats contained in two separate notes found onboard the Legend of the Seas. Personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Honolulu Police Department, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, and other members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force - Pacific, responded to the vessel to investigate the incident. Subsequent to the ship being released by authorities, a third note was delivered to an individual on the ship. The note did not contain any threats to the ship in general. The ship has returned to its scheduled itinerary and has subsequently docked in Kona, Hawaii. The Joint Terrorism Task Force - Pacific is continuing its investigation into the threats. The Legend of the Seas is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and is registered in the Bahamas.

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