NCL Pride of America in Honolulu during the False Missile Alert

Jan 14, 2018

“EMERGENCY ALERT: Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill”.

This false emergency message sent out to every cell phone in Hawaii by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency caused widespread panic and confusion. Hawaii residents as well as tourists swept up in the panic, immediately expressed outrage.

Passengers onboard Norwegian Cruise Line ship Pride of America had also received this message. The cruise ship was at the port of Honolulu (Oahu), and was in a process of disembarking guests after a 7-Nights Hawaii round-trip. According to Mediapost soon after the emergency alert, an announcement was made on the PA system that the ship had stopped the disembarkation process while the crew investigated the validity of the threat and that passengers should stay where they were. 

Shortly after ship’s captain notified passengers that the message was false even before the cancellation text was sent to cellphones. Ironically, Norwegian crew was dancing on the song “Gangnam Style” by South Korea’s star Psy, while the passengers were disembarking Pride of America. 

“A few minutes ago I got a text from my daughter who works in Hawaii aboard the NCL Pride of America which is currently docked in Honolulu. She received an emergency message on her phone stating that a missile was incoming and that it was NOT a test. This emergency message went out to every cell phone in Hawaii. Reports are that it caused panic throughout the Islands. It was sent by the Hawaiian State government. Thank God it was a mistake and not a real attack. Hawaii get your staff together.” wrote John Rodriguez on his Facebook profile.

The alert, which set off widespread panic because of escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea, was revoked 38 minutes after by the state officials. They say the alert was the result of human error and not the work of hackers or a foreign government. Simply someone press the wrong button on the computer.