Female Passenger Severely Attacked Onboard Cruise Ship

An Indonesian cruise ship crew member stands accused of physically and sexually assaulting a female passenger onboard the Holland America ship, ms Nieuw Amsterdam. Holland America is a cruise line based in Seattle, Washington. In a criminal complaint, authorities asserted that the crew member confessed to attacking the woman. The crew member said that the incident began as he attempted to deliver food to her room. According to him, he knocked three times and then the passenger shouted an insult. Feeling slighted, he tried to confront her later twice, intending to hit her in the face. The first time she did not answer the door and the second attempt was abandoned because the deck was too crowded.

The crew member also relayed to authorities that he then used his master key to enter her room and wait for her. The crew member stands accused of choking and punching the passenger with any items around. He also attempted to push her overboard. The passenger was able to escape and ran from her cabin where another passenger rendered aid. The passenger's injuries were so severe that she was airlifted to a hospital in Florida the following morning. At the time of the news article, her medical condition was not known. The cruise ship issued a statement that the crew member was hired following a criminal background check, which came back free of any history, and that he had good references.

Cruise ship crimes are usually investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation when the victim is a U.S. National, if the ship is in U.S. Admiralty jurisdiction, or if the criminal conduct happened when the ship was within twelve miles off the U.S. coast. Even though ships are a restricted spaces, crimes can easily go unreported or under-investigated. The only authority on the ship is the cruise ship security, hired by the cruise lines. With obstacles such as these, it can be a challenge to pursue justice through the criminal court system. Civil remedies under maritime law may be an additional option to consider to hold cruise lines accountable for injuries sustained because of an assault or theft onboard. Cruise lines are obligated to maintain reasonably safe conditions, and failure to uphold that duty means the injured passenger may be able to to recover damages. In addition to background checks, cruise lines are expected to maintain safe premises onboard and safe transit for day excursions.

Should you need help in a similar matter, please call the internationally recognized maritime lawyers at Seattle Maritime Attorneys for a free consultation.

The Washington cruise ship attorneys, John Merriam and Gordon Webb, have the experience you need to pursue your maritime personal injury case. They aggressively fight for you as they litigate and negotiate each claim, and work to maximize the compensation you deserve. Both lawyers understand the culture onboard a vessel, and they know the hardships their clients face while recovering from injuries and facing medical bills. If you or a family member has been injured while onboard a cruise ship, contact our office for a free, confidential consultation at 877.800.1007.

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