MSC and Maersk Sexual Assault Lawyers

Last updated Jun 06, 2024

If you or a loved one is a survivor of sexually assault while working for a shipping company like MSC or Maersk, you may contact the sexual abuse attorneys at Edwards Henderson for help.

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Key Takeaways

  • Sexual assault is a heinous crime that may occur at sea while you are working or interning for a shipping company like MSC or Maersk.
  • Recent allegations of sexual misconduct onboard Maersk ships reveal that the company failed to provide a safe working environment for its crew members and students working under the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy internship program.
  • If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted at sea, you may contact the MSC and Maersk sexual assault lawyers at Edwards Henderson.

Representing Survivors of MSC and Maersk Sexual Abuse

Sexual assault is a horrific crime and a violation of the dignity and sexual autonomy of individuals harmed. Many survivors of sex abuse experience long-lasting emotional and physical side effects. Unfortunately, sexual assault can take place anywhere and can happen to anyone, including those on board a ship coursing through an ocean or sea.

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and APM-Maersk (Maersk) are the largest container shipping companies in the world. In addition to transporting their own goods, they also partner with organizations and schools like the U.S. Merchant Maritime Academy (USMMA) on their internship at sea programs. Unfortunately, there have been known instances of sexual assault on board these container ships. If you or a loved one were sexually abused while at sea, contact the MSC and Maersk sex abuse lawyers of Edwards Henderson today to learn about your legal options and rights to possible compensation.

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual violence can take many forms. According to the Department of Justice, sexual assault refers to all non-consensual sexual activity deemed illegal under federal, tribal, and state laws. There is no consent when any person participating in a sexual activity does not or cannot clearly and freely communicate such consent. This is applicable every time and for every type of sexual activity.

Sexual assault includes rape, attempts to rape, and any other nonconsensual sexual activity, including oral sex and fondling.

How Common is Sexual Abuse?

Unfortunately, sexual abuse is highly common, with statistics showing that one in five women experience rape or attempted rape and one in four men experience some form of sexual violence in the United States within their lifetime.

Most sexual assault is never reported to the police. In 2018, the percentage of reported sexual assault was only 25%. While the reasons for not filing an official complaint may differ from one individual to another, it does play a role in minimizing the true scope of the problem.

What are the MSC and Maersk Sexual Assault Allegations?

Sexual abuse allegations are widespread in the container shipping industry, with recent cases coming to light about such abuse on some of the largest container ships in the world.

In New York, two U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) cadets, Midshipman X and Midshipman Y, alleged that they were sexually assaulted at sea, with the even more disturbing claim that Maersk did not have adequate safeguards to prevent assault and did not even take them seriously.

The USMMA Internship Program

The USMMA internship program is intended to give midshipmen experience in maritime or transportation industry management in preparation for future roles. The at-sea training typically includes a two-to-six week internship assignment, where the midshipman is expected to grasp concepts of organization, decision-making, operations, and work ethic. The assignments may range from shipping companies and shipyards to port and terminal facilities.

The mandatory training program, also known as Sea Year, places students on government or commercially-owned ships so they can make the best decision for their future career in the shipping industry.

Hope Hicks and Others File Lawsuits Against Maersk

Midshipman X, who later came forward as Hope Hicks, was a 19-year-old student undergoing training at sea under the Maersk company’s watch. She wrote an anonymous blog post claiming that she was raped by her fellow crewmen. Hope added that she was forced to falsify sexual assault records. In a separate lawsuit, Midshipman-Y claimed that she was severely sexually harassed on the same ship two years later by a crew member that other Maersk officers knew to be violent, and yet no one intervened or reported the act.

Maersk ultimately settled with Hicks for an undisclosed amount, stating that sexual misconduct was unacceptable. The terms of the settlement are confidential. The U.S. Transportation Department, which oversees the Sea Year program, has put it on hold. No settlement has been reached yet regarding Midshipman-Y’s case.

Besides Maersk, there have been sexual assault allegations against other shipping companies as well. In 2019, there was a report of sexual assault aboard the MSC Divina involving a teenager from the United Kingdom. When this was reported to the law enforcement authorities in Spain (since the assault had taken place close to Valencia), a Spanish judge released the detained suspect for lack of jurisdiction.

Maritime Law and Sex Abuse

Shipowners and other relevant third-party entities may be held liable for failure to create a safe environment for the crew. However, this can get complicated due to jurisdiction issues, international laws, and multiple potentially liable parties which is why working with an experienced maritime sexual abuse lawyer can be beneficial.

The Jones Act imposes upon maritime businesses and employers a duty to furnish a seaworthy vessel. This is to ensure crew members have a reasonably safe work environment. It allows the injured crew to seek justice against their employers for neglect or injuries where the maritime company acted unreasonably or failed to take measures to prevent assault.

If you have been sexually abused on a container ship such as those owned by MSC and Maersk, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses. Whether you were directly employed by these ships or served on them under the USSMA Sea Year program, you may reach out to our sexual assault attorneys for help securing justice and compensation.

What To Do If You Were Sexually Assaulted at Sea?

Survivors of sexual abuse often experience lingering pain and trauma after the abuse, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, pelvic pain, and sexual difficulties. You may also face several other long-term complications such as eating disorders, addiction, difficulty going to medical professionals for treatments that may feel invasive, high blood pressure, insomnia, as well as relationship and attachment issues.

If you were sexually assaulted at sea, you should consider filing a lawsuit to recover financial compensation from the potentially responsible parties. While no amount of compensation can change the past, it can equip you with the financial tools to seek the best possible resources to help in your recovery and help ensure that others do not suffer similar abuse.

Potentially responsible third parties in maritime sex abuse cases include the shipping company, such as MSC or Maersk, and organizations like the USMMA which oversee some internship programs. A sexual assault attorney can explain whether you may pursue compensation against the third party for reasons such as the lack of proper policies in place to prevent sexual assault, insufficient action against the perpetrator(s), or covering up the sexual assault after being made aware of the incident.

Am I Eligible to File a Civil Sexual Assault Lawsuit?

If you have been sexually assaulted onboard a container ship owned by MSC or Maersk, you may be eligible to file a sexual assault lawsuit against the person(s) who abused you, as well as the shipping company in certain cases. A qualified sexual assault lawyer can help you file a civil lawsuit for compensation, keeping in mind the applicable state, federal, and maritime laws, including the relevant statute of limitations.

Maritime law is complicated. This makes selecting the right lawyer crucial. An MSC and Maersk sexual assault lawyer should be able to guide you through the entire legal process so you may maximize the compensation you receive for your pain. Depending on your case, you may be eligible to receive compensation for pain and trauma, lost wages, medical bills, and costs for mental health treatment.

Are You Ready to Speak With a Maersk Sexual Assault Lawyer? Contact us today

Any form of sexual violence is an attack on our bodies, minds, and dignity. At Edwards Henderson, our team of compassionate attorneys understands the challenges and legal nuances of filing a sexual abuse lawsuit. They can ensure your case is thoroughly investigated so you may have the strongest evidence required to succeed in your lawsuit.

Schedule a confidential case evaluation to learn more about how we can help you move forward. All our consultations are free and you have no obligation to hire us after our initial chat. We do not charge anything unless we secure you a successful verdict or settlement. Contact us today for more information.

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