Articles Posted in Cruise Ship Sexual Assault / Rape

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The Florida maritime and cruise injury and assault attorneys of Brais Law Firm have been retained to represent a female minor passenger in a claim against Holland America (“HAL”) who alleges she was violently sexually assaulted and raped on board Holland America’s Veendam cruise ship by a crew member on January 15, 2017. The Brais Law Firm, with the help of local Seattle counsel Charles Moure filed suit on behalf of the minor child on December 13, 2017. The brutal details of the sexual assault and rape are detailed in the Complaint.

The fifteen-year-old child, her grandmother and a cousin boarded the vessel on January 4, 2017 for a two-week cruise. During the cruise, the child and her family became acquainted with Gede Sukrantara, a twenty-six year old waiter from Bali, Indonesia who would often make small talk with the group when they would visit the Lido deck.

Throughout the cruise, the child participated in the CLUB HAL YOUTH PROGRAM, which is advertised by Holland America as its youth activities program, offering “an array of entertaining events for kids and teens ages 3-17, supervised by a full-time, professionally trained staff.”  Holland America represents that “safety is [its] primary concern and policies are in place for effective supervision.” Our client participated in the CLUB HAL YOUTH PROGRAM often under the supervision of the same female youth staff member.

During the cruise and prior to the sexual assault and rape, the child reported to a youth staff member, while in the presence of another Holland America crew member, that a Lido crew member was being flirtatious with her and inquiring about her age. The Complaint alleges that rather than report the crew member to supervisors or act to protect the minor child, who was obviously uncomfortable with the crew member’s behavior, the youth staff member told the child to tell the “flirtatious” crew member that she was 13 years-old. The minor child was told to understate her age in an apparent effort to dissuade the Holland American crew member from making further inappropriate advances and leave her alone.

According to the Complaint, the next night, on January 15, 2017, the child participated in a CLUB HAL YOUTH PROGRAM event. After the event ended, the child went to the Lido deck for a snack. While at the Lido deck, SUKRANTARA began to make small talk with the minor.  After some time, she left the Lido deck and headed to the Sky Deck. On her way to the Sky Deck, she stopped at a restroom designated for women located near the CLUB HAL area. Unbeknownst to her, SUKRANTARA followed her to the women’s restroom. As the restroom door was closing the HAL crew member pushed on the door and forced his way in, locking the door after him.  In the restroom, SUKRANTARA pushed the young girl against the wall. She yelled at him to get off her, to get out of the restroom and to leave her alone. SUKRANTARA refused and continued his assault.  SUKRANTARA then threatened to tell everyone that it was her idea and that she was “easy to get” if she did not stop yelling. SUKRANTARA then started to forcefully kiss the minor and touch her body under her clothing. The young locked up her body, refusing to allow SUKRANTARA to touch her private parts. SUKRANTARA removed his shirt as he pinned her against the wall. He then continued with his attempts to kiss her and rubbed his hands over her body. The child repeatedly told him to get off her, to stop and that she did not want to engage in any sexual activity with him. The Complaint alleges SUKRANTARA then asked her to take him to her stateroom. The minor refused again asking if she could leave. SUKRANTARA then tried to push her over the toilet in an attempt to vaginally penetrate her with his penis. The child yelled “no” and tried unsuccessfully to escape the restroom. SUKRANTARA once again pushed her against the wall and then tried to push her to the ground while she resisted. In the ensuing struggle, SUKRANTARA succeeded in positioning her in the corner of the restroom and while there forced her mouth open whereupon he inserted his penis inside her mouth.  The child attempted several times to get up but he kept pushing her down. After minutes, SUKRANTARA ejaculated into the child’s mouth and onto her face and clothing. Continue reading

Carinval-Cruise-Club-O2The Florida maritime lawyers of Brais Law Firm have been retained to represent a female minor passenger who was allegedly sexually assaulted and raped on board the Carnival Breeze on October 3, 2015.  The incident occurred when the child left the cruise ship’s Club O2 teen lounge and upon heading to a nearby elevator was surrounded by five adult men who forced her into the elevator, down a ship’s hallway and into a cabin of one of the men.  The men were able to target the child as their victim because Carnival failed to keep the unrelated men out of the Club O2 lounge earlier in the cruise.  On at least one occasion the men were told to leave of the Club O2 lounge, but by then it was too late and they simply waited outside the Club O2 lounge until their unsuspecting victim left the teen club.

The Club O2 lounge is advertised as a dedicated lounge aboard Carnival ships for children ages 15 to 17 to “hang out and do stuff like watch movies, listed to music from this decade, play sports and video games, join karaoke jam sessions . . . maybe even have a pool party or two, all with other high schoolers ages of 15 to 17.”  Carnival states on its website, that Club O2 is designed specifically for 15-17-year-olds, which means no kids and no adults.  It is further described as a safe and comfortable environment for teen cruise passengers.  Carnival notes that “as legal adults, 18-year-olds are not permitted to participate in or use the Club O2 facilities or any other Youth Program facilities.”

Based on the above description, parents, like our clients, reasonably believe that Carnival has in place measures to keep out persons not supposed to be in the Club O2 lounge. At the very least, parents believe that Carnival has a person at the door of the lounge confirming the ages of the guests attempting to enter the lounge and that they are there for legitimate purposes.

New Cruise Saftey Law.jpgA new federal law passed earlier this month that requires the Department of Transportation to report crimes allegedly committed onboard a cruise ship. The new law is quite a departure from its predecessor, the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (hereinafter “Act”), which only made incident data available if the alleged crime was “no longer under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

Opponents of the law maintain it is not necessary, arguing that the major cruise lines began providing crime data on their respective websites in 2013. However, it is important to note that the data provided on these websites cannot be relied on as a representative figure insofar as the total number of crimes that occur aboard cruise vessels. Specifically, the major cruise lines only report incidents that meet the requirements of the Cruise Vessel and Safety Act, which limit reporting to incidents involving “homicide, suspicious death, a missing United States national, kidnapping, assault with serious bodily injury … firing or tampering with the vessel, or theft of money or property in excess of $10,000.” Thus, if a crew member stole something from a passenger not in excess of $10,000, then the cruise lines were not required to publicly disclose it. The above may be characterized as an illustration of the lobby efforts by the Cruise Lines to modify the Act in a way that only certain crimes require disclosure.
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Florida Cruise Injury Lawyer.gifThe Miami cruise lawyers of Brais Law Firm have been retained by a victim who was raped by a crew member aboard the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship. Maritime law is clear that a cruise lines are strictly liable for the criminal actions of their crew members against passengers. Our Florida Board Certified maritime lawyers are well versed in representing victims of crime perpetrated on cruise ships. If you know of an incident of sexual assault or rape occurring on the Bahamas Celebration, we like to hear from you. Information you have may be very helpful in our investigation.

Ohio Cruise Attorney.gifThe cruise injury lawyers of Brais & Brais filed a sexual assault claim against NCL in Miami Federal Court on behalf of an Ohio passenger. The lawsuit alleges a crewmember aboard the NORWEGIAN SKY sexually harassed, followed and assaulted a female passenger on the last night of the cruise. Under maritime law, cruise lines are strictly liable for sexual assaults / rapes perpetrated by crew against passengers. The claims seeks compensatory damages for injury and emotional distress.

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida based Discovery Cruise Line announced it will suspend its service to the Bahamas in September, 2011 so that its only cruise ship Discovery Sun can be refurbished.

Discovery’s vice president and general manager Hanns J. Hahn stated: “While the ship is in safe operational order and complies with all United States Coast Guard and SOLAS requirements, it requires dry docking and refurbishment. A timetable for its return will be announced after further inspections are completed.” The Discovery Sun currently sails six times a week from Port Everglades to Grand Bahamas Island.

The Bermuda Sun reports a Princess Cruises’ crewmember has been arrested and is facing charges for a sexual assault aboard the cruise ship Caribbean Princess, a Bermuda registered vessel.

Identified only as a “40-year-old Filipino”, the crewmember was brought to Bermuda from Miami by the Bermuda Police Service to face the charges. He was given $5000 bail and his trial will begin on March 7, 2011.

The Caribbean Princess currently sails from San Juan, Puerto Rico on seven and fourteen day voyages.

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports a federal court sentenced Lucas George Wickes, 25, of Rochester to 46 months in prison for abusive sexual contact with a 13 year-old. Wickes was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,667 for abusive sexual contact on the high seas.

Wickes admitted that on Jan. 1, 2007, while on board the Disney Cruise ship Wonder leaving Port Canaveral, Fla., to the Caribbean, he knowingly engaged in sexual contact with a 13-year-old, stated Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany H. Lee.

The minor and her family boarded the Wonder on Dec. 31, 2006, according to the U.S. Attorneys’ Office. That evening, the minor went to the ship’s teen club with some other youngsters she met. After the club closed, Wickes approached them and ordered them to return to their rooms. He told the victim to follow him and she did, believing him to be a security officer with the cruise ship, according to officials. After Wickes led her to the rear of the ship, where no other people were around, he engaged in sexual contact with the minor placing her in fear that she would be subjected to serious bodily injury.