TEL AVIV (Mar. 19)
Elaborate security precautions will be in effect aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2 when the giant liner arrives in Israeli waters next month with 1700 passengers who will attend Israel’s 25th anniversary celebrations, it was learned today. According to information from Cunard Line headquarters in London, the ship will carry a team of anti-terrorist experts. Armed guards will be stationed on the bridge, in the engine rooms and in the wireless cabins. Magnetic and electronic checks will be made of passengers’ baggage when they board at Southampton, April 15.
The QE-2, under charter to Associated Travel an American firm. Is due at Ashdod April 21 and will remain there four days while her passengers, using the ship as their hotel, tour Israel The 65,000 ton liner will then steam to Haifa where she will remain until May 7 to embark a new group of passengers for the return voyage to Britain. Her original complement of passengers, mostly Americans, will leave Israel by air.
The 66,000 ton French Liner France is also due at Haifa during the 25th anniversary celebrations with more than 1000 passengers. There has been no information from the French Line regarding security precautions. The QE-2 and the France, the world’s largest passenger ships will be the largest passenger vessels ever to call at Israeli ports. The prestige of the vessels, The occasion of their visits to Israel and their predominantly Jewish passenger lists on the Independence Day cruises have aroused concern that they may be targets for terrorist outrages.
According to reports from London, some members of the QE-s crew have asked the National Seamen’s Union to demand a “danger bonus” from Cunard for the trip. Some crewmen have reportedly asked permission to sign off for the voyage to Israel. Any substantial defection by crew members might cause the cruise to be cancelled, costing Cunard nearly 1.2 million pounds sterling in charter fees.