In the US, two lawsuits are being filed
in New York state court against Maersk Line, Limited, the Danish carrier’s
American subsidiary, with two women cadets claiming they were sexually harassed
and assaulted while working at sea for a year as part of their course with the
US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA).
Both sexual assault
cases took place onboardthe Alliance Fairfax
Both sexual assault cases took place
onboard the Alliance Fairfax, an American-flagged car carrier, in which
terrible reports of rape and alcohol abuse have been detailed, initially by one
of the plaintiffs who went by the moniker Midshipman-X before revealing her
identity yesterday as Hope Hicks.
“Maersk acknowledged that it owes a
special duty of care to USMMA cadets, yet even after the Sea Year program was
reinstated in 2017, Maersk failed to implement and enforce adequate policies
and procedures to protect these young women,” said Steven Kelly, a partner at
law firm Sanford Heisler Sharp, which is representing the plaintiffs.
There have been previous incidents of
sexual harassment at USMMA including a high profile case six years ago and a $1.4m
settlement in 2020 for another victim.
This week Maersk revealed it has started
interviewing its more than 350 female seafarers after reports of another sexual
harassment case broke in Danish media over the weekend.
We are now making a
massive effort to create a cultural change onboard our ships
“We just have to
admit that what we have done in the past has been insufficient. That is why we
are now making a massive effort with a number of targeted initiatives to create
a cultural change onboard our ships,” PalleLaursen, Maersk’s chief fleet and
technical officer, told local media earlier this week.