At about 9pm Friday August 19, Miami Dade police department in Florida received a emergency call warning that there was a man aboard the Discover Cruise Lines ship with a gun and a bomb. Discover Cruise Line’s sole ship, the DISCOVERY SUN had departed from Lucayan Harbor at Grand Bahama Island at 5pm with nearly 900 passengers, and was en route back to Port Everglades, FL due to arrive at 10:30pm.
The ship stopped some 18 miles off Florida’s coast while passengers were restricted to their either their cabins or designated public areas, while US Coast Guard and bomb squad technicians boarded the ship around midnight. After the initial search turned up nothing, the ship was allowed to proceed to Port Everglades around 4am. Around 6am, passengers and crew were cleared for disembarkation. After the ship was emptied, Coast Guard, FBI, Customs and Border Protection and the Broward Sherriff’s Office further searched the ship but and again found nothing.
Discovery Cruise Line had previously announced that it will close down on September 6, as a result of high operating costs and the line being unable to raise their rates due to poor economic climate, according to the line’s spokeswoman, Roberta Backus.
DISCOVERY SUN was built in Germany as FREEPORT I, for the Freeport Criuse Line, sailing between Miami and Freeport, Bahamas. In 1973, the ship was sold to Oy Birka Line Ab, Mariehamn, and renamed FREEPORT for cruises between Stockholm-Helsinki. The same year, FREEPORT was again sold again to Stockholms Rederi AB Svea, for service between Helsingborg-Tuborg (Copenhagen) to Travemünde and renamed SVEA STAR. Again renamed as CARIBE BREMEN, and then sold to Scandinavian World Cruises renamed the SCANDINAVIAN SUN for a Miami-Freeport service. In 1985 the ship was chartered to SeaEscape Cruise who then bought her in 1988. In 1992, SCANDINAVIAN SUN was sold to Belle Meade Shipping, being renamed BALANGA QUEEN for the Corona Line between Karlskrona-Gdynia, two years later she was chartered to Hansatee, Tallinn, Estonia, and sailed on Tallinn-Helsinki-Tallinn-Travemünde route. Later in 1994, she returned to the Caribbean again wand was renamed as DISCOVERY SUN for Discovery Cruise Line and has remained in service since then, replacing the previous vessel on the route DISCOVERY I.
MARTIN COX - Founder and publisher of MaritimeMatters, inspired by maritime culture and technology growing up in the port of Southampton. He works as a photographer in Los Angeles, and his works has been exhibited in LA, San Francisco, New York, London and Iceland. Martin is the co-writer of the book “Hollywood to Honolulu; the story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company” published by the Steam Ship Historical Society of America. The Los Angeles Maritime Museum has commissioned artworks and collected his photographs.