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Maersk investigates alleged rape of 19-year-old during federal training program



The nameless creator of the post mentioned she is a present senior on the US Service provider Marine Academy (USMMA) in Kings Level, New York, which trains college students to grow to be commissioned officers within the armed forces and licensed Service provider Marine officers who work on ships transporting cargo and passengers worldwide.

She wrote final month that she was the one feminine on a Maersk ship throughout her Sea 12 months, a compulsory program when college students work on industrial vessels and expertise what the varsity describes as their “first actual alternative for self-reliance.”

In her account of what occurred, she mentioned that after leaving a port within the Center East, engineers on the ship pressured her and her fellow cadet, who’s male, to down shot after shot of laborious liquor one night time, and that she wakened bare in her mattress early the subsequent morning and started to panic.

“There was blood on my sheets, and I knew instantly that I had been raped,” she wrote. “I used to be a virgin and had been saving myself, and as quickly as I wakened I may really feel that I used to be very sore and knew precisely what had occurred.”

She wrote that her supervisor on the ship, a senior engineer in his 60s and the second accountable for her division, had been sexually harassing her for weeks main as much as this night time. She mentioned whereas she could not keep in mind the precise rape as a result of alcohol, she remembered this identical man in her room, getting undressed, standing over her and forcing himself on her.

Based on her submit, he known as her hours after she wakened and realized what occurred and requested her to return to his room, saying they wanted to speak. The girl mentioned she went to his room and when she accused him of forcing himself on her, he denied it, saying he had simply helped her again to her room and “No matter you believed occurred, you would not inform the captain would you?” She mentioned he proceeded to place his hand on her thigh, and that when she received as much as depart he advised her nobody would ever imagine her.

“Again in my room I made a decision that the one factor I may do was to powerful it out,” she wrote in her submit on the web site of Maritime Authorized Support & Advocacy, a nonprofit run by a USMMA graduate who mentioned he was a sufferer and witness of sexual harassment and abuse on a Maersk ship. “Nobody was going to imagine me, and toughing it out was the one possibility I felt like I had. I used to be trapped.”

For the subsequent 50 days, she mentioned she needed to proceed to work for the person who had raped her — seeing him day by day.

What she says prompted her to talk out

Whereas she confided within the different USMMA cadet onboard concerning the alleged rape, she did not formally report it on the time. However upon returning to campus and dealing as a sufferer’s advocate, she realized of a minimum of 9 different feminine college students presently enrolled on the academy who mentioned that they had been raped throughout their Sea 12 months. This prompted her to talk out, she mentioned, and her story shortly made rounds within the trade and federal authorities.

“She was sickened by the variety of younger girls getting raped at sea,” mentioned her lawyer Ryan Melogy, founding father of the nonprofit that revealed her story. “Nothing was being completed about the issue. She needs to see actual change and actual accountability for what occurred to her and much too many others.”

Her submit has additionally sparked media attention and dozens of feedback expressing assist and sharing related experiences from each women and men, together with alumni, college students, academy mother and father and others within the maritime trade.

Denmark-based Maersk, which is the world’s largest container transport firm, mentioned in an announcement issued Friday, as beforehand reported in Danish and trade media, that its US subsidiary is working intently with the academy, the labor unions that characterize the officers and crew, and the US authorities, and that 5 crew members would stay suspended till the inquiry is full.

“We’re shocked and deeply saddened about now we have learn. We take this case severely and are disturbed by the allegations made on this nameless posting which has solely lately been delivered to our consideration,” mentioned Invoice Woodhour, CEO of Maersk Line, Restricted, the corporate’s US subsidiary. “We do every little thing we will to make sure that all of our office environments, together with vessels, are a protected and welcoming office and we have launched a prime to backside investigation.”

The U.S. Maritime Administration, which oversees the academy, mentioned in an announcement that it was conscious of the allegation and that the USMMA Superintendent referred the weblog submit to the Coast Guard Investigative Service the day after it was revealed. “We’ve got zero tolerance for sexual assault and sexual harassment at USMMA and within the maritime trade,” the assertion mentioned. “As we decide the suitable steps required to extend and make sure the security of USMMA college students, we pledge to take heed to and work intently with the whole USMMA neighborhood together with college students, mother and father and alumni.” A spokesperson for the company additionally famous that the lady mentioned in her submit that she didn’t select to report the alleged assault and mentioned that the academy and authorities officers could be enterprise a evaluation of the present necessities imposed on industrial vessels to make sure the protection of scholars.

Sea 12 months has been beforehand suspended

The USMMA’s partnerships with transport corporations beforehand got here underneath scrutiny in 2016, when Sea 12 months was suspended amid reviews of sexual assault and harassment. It was reinstated the subsequent yr, after the varsity and the federal authorities touted new guidelines for this system and a zero tolerance coverage for sexual assault and harassment.

The federal authorities mentioned final yr that reviews of sexual assault of academy college students had decreased within the 2018-2019 tutorial yr however that there have been 9 allegations of sexual assaults throughout this time, in addition to two claims of sexual harassment and one report of retaliation.

The Division of Transportation additionally famous that the varsity’s tradition remained “closely influenced by the upper ratio of males in comparison with girls” — making some feminine college students really feel like they should act like “one of many boys” — and mentioned there are nonetheless various causes victims do not feel snug coming ahead, together with “concern of reprisal from friends, social stigmatization, and ostracism.”

The girl behind the weblog submit wrote that of greater than 50 girls in her senior class on the academy, she has “not spoken to a single a kind of girls who has advised me that she has not been sexually harassed, sexually assaulted, or degraded sooner or later over the last 3 years on the Academy or throughout Sea 12 months. Most individuals, and even the leaders of our faculty, don’t appear to know how critical this drawback is, particularly at sea.”

Previous to Maersk’s announcement about its investigation, the US Deputy Secretary of Transportation and performing maritime administrator co-authored a letter posted on the varsity’s web site expressing the company’s “unwavering assist” for the lady who got here ahead.

Congressman Tom Suozzi and US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand additionally issued an announcement final week demanding a direct investigation and saying they’ll “proceed to work intently with the Service provider Marine Academy to place methods in place to make sure well timed and thorough reporting.”

Do you may have an expertise or data to share concerning the US Service provider Marine Academy or the maritime trade? Electronic mail us at watchdog@cnn.com.



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