ABC News in Australia reports that police are investigating a sexual assault which occured on the cruise ship Pacific Sun operated by Princess Cruises' sister company P & O Cruises. The alleged crime took place on the P & O cruise ship during a seven day cruise of the South Pacific near Noumea. Australian police boarded the Pacific Sun when the ship returned to Brisbane today.
At this time there is little information other than the ABC News report. The newspapers in Australia resemble, at least to me, the British press. They are aggressive in reporting stories like this. I expect there to be numerous articles on line soon.
In a post earlier today, I commented on the risk passengers face of sexual assault on cruises, both by crew members and other passengers. I have commented extensively on the sexual assault of P & O Cruises passenger Dianne Brimble who died on the Pacific Sun.
Cruise lines have suffered from terrible publicity due to the irresponsible way that they have responded to shipboard crimes. For example, after Ms. Brimble died, the P & O brand (a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation which also owns sister company Princess Cruises), began running a highly sexualized marketing campaign touting an image of booze and sex.
A commenter to a previous post commented that P & O "pimped out their female passengers, with the 'Seamen Wanted' promotional postcard, depicting a deck full of women wearing bikinis, accompanied by a tag line 'More girls, more sun, more fun. There's nothing else a guy needs to know.' "
In a post last week, I praised the leadership of P & O's CEO Ann Sherry who inherited this mess but seems to have brought a professionalism and air of transparency to the cruise line.
In the past, P & O Cruises issued a press statement following a sexual assault on the Pacific Star.
The last time the press reported a sexual assault on a Princess Cruises or P & O cruise was earlier this year. A Princess Cruises waiter assaulted and attempted to rape a passenger aboard Princess Cruises' Coral Princess. The Princess Cruises' employee, identified as Jorge Manuel Teixeira, 38, of Portugal, was arraigned on three counts each of aggravated sexual assault and sexual abuse. He is awaiting trial.
A P & O passenger was also raped aboard the Pacific Star earlier this year as well. A newspaper in Australia reported that the P & O ship's crew found a 46-year-old female passenger in a state of shock and suffering bruises in the early hours following a New Year's Eve party. She alleged that a 37-year-old Australian passenger raped her while she was sleeping in her cabin. Like the instant case, the attack happened near Noumea.
Regarding this latest report of sexual assault, I expect that we will soon hear from Ms. Sherry, probably via YouTube if her lawyers will "let her do her thing." Otherwise, the Australian press will be the only ones commenting on yet another sexual assault on a Princess or P & O cruise ship.
October 11, 2009 Update:
P & O Cruises has not issued a press release or provided an update on their website or ship blogs yet. An online newspaper in Australia, News.com.au, reports that the alleged victim is believed to be a juvenile. Queensland police are investigating and have interviewed "people allegedly involved in the incident." But a police spokesperson indicated that no one had been arrested or charged. The spokesperson also "refused to say how many people were involved in the incident, or where they were from."
Photo credit Jim Walker, Star Princess, Seattle, July 4, 2009