Officials warn ISIS or another group could attack cruise ships in the Mediterranean.
Vice Admiral Clive Johnstone, the UK’s highest naval officer in NATO, said he believes an accidental or intentional attack is likely, reported Daily Mail.
While there is no threat to shipping from ISIS at the moment, the area is filled with many competing potential hazards, he explained.
“We are not in any war, we are not in any period of tension, but there are quite a lot of actors with a say there and we have just got to make sure we can access [the area],” he said, according to Daily Mail. "[A cruise attack could happen as a] mistake … or it will be an act of random terrorism that will suddenly have extraordinary implications for the Western world."
Moreover, after watching ISIS “grow and morph in such extraordinary ways,” he says the group’s unpredictability means the West would do well to keep an eye on the seas.
Of further concern to Johnstone is ISIS’s propensity for emulating al-Qaeda.
Johnstone believes ISIS is also trying to build a navy like al-Qaeda has.
“We know they have had ambitions to go off shore, we know they would like to have a maritime arm, just as al Qaeda had a maritime arm,” he said.
Moreover, in 2012, CNN reported documents were released revealing al-Qaeda actually had plans to hijack a cruise ship.
The reports show the group wanted to force hostages into orange suits as if they were Guantanamo Bay prisoners. They would then execute them on video while demanding for the release of some of their own.
Still, some think concerns like these should be kept in perspective. Studies show people are much more likely to die from more mundane domestic events like automobile accidents than terrorist attacks while on vacation.
“[E]ven in countries that have been targets of intensive terror campaigns, such as Israel, the weekly number of casualties almost never [comes] close to the number of traffic deaths,” said Daniel Kahneman, professor emeritus at Princeton University, The Washington Post reported.