Did Costa Cruises Assist an Alleged Rapist Escape Justice?

The  Philippine Daily Inquirer reports on the case of a a Filipino crew member who alleges that her supervisor raped her while she was working on board the MV Costa Classica last year.

The victim worked as a security guard on the cruise ship. She alleges that she was summoned to the security office on the cruise ship where she observed two security officers drinking alcohol. The men are of Indian nationality: Joseph Chacko (Chief Security Officer) and Anoop Palatty (Assistant Security Officer).

The crew member claims that Palatty made indecent advances, but she left the office and continued with her security patrol. Later that night, she was summoned again, this time to Chacko’s cabin, where Costa Classica Cruise Shipshe went believing it was official business. She claims that the two officers were still drinking when she arrived at the cabin.

According to the crew member, Chacko then allegedly sexually abused her as soon as Palatty left the cabin. The victim alleges that she tried to resist but she was overpowered.  

She reported the incident to the ship's captain, Italian Pierre Paulo Gallastroni, who told her to make a statement. She also reported the alleged crime to the Philippine consulate in Hong Kong where she was medically and physically examined.

The newspaper article states that the two security officers disembarked in Hong Kong and escaped before the police police could begin their investigation.

This case illustrates a problem in the cruise industry we have seen over the years. When crew members commit crimes, there is a conflict of interest in having shipboard security being involved in the ship's investigation. The problem is really bad when a security guard or security officer commits a crime.  Security personnel are suppose to provide law and order on cruise ships.  But cases like this illustrate the need for laws requiring independent police officers to be present on all cruise ships.

Two weeks ago we wrote about a 34 year old waiter sexually molesting an 11 year old girl on the Disney Dream while the cruise ship was at a port in Florida. But Disney Cruise Line refused to report the crime to either the local police or the FBI and then sailed to the Bahamas where it knew that the police would not do anything. Disney flew the waiter back to India rather than return him to the U.S. where he would have been arrested and prosecuted.

A trial involving the Costa case is scheduled to begin in Genoa, Italy on June 18th. Costa has some explaining to do, like why didn't the company apprehend the security officer? Why did the cruise line permit him to leave the ship? Who paid for the two men to fly back to India?

 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia / 663highland

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Comments (7) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Eric Rappe' - June 13, 2013 3:37 PM

I could not agree more that independent security/police is needed. I believe this to be the number one need on these ships. Someone with no affiliation who's job is not riding on covering up crimes. This would lower the crime rate, and also force the cruise lines to follow the rules that are already in place. Imagine if someone started to talk about the fact that someone could have been saved if the ships were equiped with the MOB systems, and therefore the cruise line is at least in part responsible for the deaths that go unknown! My guess is they would install the systems! All because there was someone on the ship that was not going to simply lie.... At least until the money hungry cruise lines started to "pay off" the independent security....

craig parkin - June 13, 2013 5:45 PM

this is wrong people with senior statis shoulud show a good example..i nhave seen this with my own eyes...

D P SINGH - June 14, 2013 1:52 AM

It was really sad and inhuman act carried by bottom crew.It has bring the bad name to country also.

jyoyhish mathews - June 14, 2013 4:47 AM

it is hard believe after reading your report about the incident,nobody knows the truth and the situation leading to the complaint of the victim.Nobody can overpower anybody without a struggle and the crew cabins are so close to each other.

Tim - June 14, 2013 11:34 AM

A maritime police force, perhaps? I'm sure there are many reasons why that cannot happen.

Mike - June 17, 2013 9:17 PM

Eric Rappe.

Nice ideas, but you do as a matter of fact not seem to have a clue about what you are talking about.

If you are sailing on a ship going to or from US ports, and try to cover up crimes you will go to jail yourself or is best case loose your Visa and the career is over.

Also there is no working MOB system which would guarantee 100% accuracy, but of course there is a remote posibillity to put a braselet with a chip on the wrist of every person onboard, so that someone Always knows where everyone is located.

Maybe you could ask that American guy in HongKong for advice, he seem to know what is going on in the World :)

benson h - June 30, 2013 11:42 AM

Its very hard to belive that if she is on duty she would equiped with all commiunication set at least she can shut thru....and also the cabins are so close to each ,anybody can hear the voice that too even what timme ...also to be mentioned.....there is somthing trick played by the girl

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