Henry Echevarria and his wife Lisa were hoping to become cruise passengers on January 22, 2016, when he attempted to board Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Liberty in Port Canaveral, Florida with a two-inch-long house key, formed into the shape of a hand gun.
But, port security refused to let the couple board with the key gun, saying it was a prohibited item, a "replica" gun.
Both Henry and Lisa Echevarria work in law enforcement. Henry Echevarria is a deputy sheriff in Pasco County, north of Tampa and Clearwater, Florida. They understand the security concerns a gun shaped item found in their luggage presents.
Echevarria told Casey Cumley, WTSP-TV, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida, "First of all, you can't even get your finger in the hole if it was a gun, and you can barely get a finger around the grip," he said. "They say I can't have it. I can't get on the boat. I either need to get rid of it, take it back or not cruise." So, Echevarria asked Carnival Liberty staff to put the key in their shipboard safe, which they agreed to do.
This cruise port law incidence experienced by a law enforcement officer, lead to more concerns. Echevarria said, "They have my address. They have my key," Henry Echevarria said. "All they need to do is make a replica, and next thing you know they could be at my house."
Carnival Cruise Lines' policy states its prohibited items policy forbids "all firearms including replicas, imitations and their components." But, clearly port security didn't understand what a "replica" includes.
Trying to take cute model items which appear to be possible weapons with you on a cruise can most definitely cause problems. On September 4, 2007, thousands of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' Freedom of the Seas passengers were held up several hours as a Miami-Dade police bomb squad investigated what looked like a grenade when a piece of luggage was scanned.
Workers spotted the hand grenade while screening a suitcase that was loaded off the cruise ship. Passengers were kept aboard the ship as a precaution. It turned out to be a child's belt buckle.
In a similar inconvenient travel incident, things did not end as well. On May 17, 2011, Steven Carter, a 26-year-old pastor from Athens, Georgia was charged with illegal possession of ammunition by Montego Bay, Jamaican police.
During inspection at the airport, a single .22-caliber bullet was found in his bag by airport inspectors. He spent two nights in jail. Carter said that he had no idea how the ammunition into his travel bag, he had not used a firearm for many years.
You can Track Carnival Liberty on our Live Cruise Ship Tracker. You can also view the Carnival Cruise Line cruise ship schedules for the coming year.
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