Who's the Most Likely Sexual Predator on a Cruise Ship? A Male Cabin Attendant with a Master Key Card

Are sexual crimes committed by cabin attendants against women in their cruise ship cabins "shocking?"

If you define "shocking" as "disturbing" or "upsetting," of course.  

But if you define "shocking" as "unforeseeable" or "unpredictable," not at all. Who's the most likely sexual predator on a cruise ship?  A male cabin attendant. What's the most likely location of a sexual assault? A passenger's cabin. What's the most likely way that a cabin attendant gets into the passenger cabin?  By using the master key card. 

99% of cabin attendants are honest, law-abiding and hard-working men and women from around the world who are trying to support their families back home. But in our experience, the majority of sexual assaults on ships have been committed by male attendants who enter the passenger cabins and attack women and children.

Over four years ago, I wrote that "in our experience, the crew member most likely to harass or assault a passenger is a male cabin attendant in his late 20's or early 30's." I warned women to be on the Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Ship outlook of a male cabin attendant who is "most likely to use his pass key and enter a woman's cabin at night."

After the vicious attack by HAL cabin attendant Ketut Pujayasa, age 28, against the passenger on the Nieuw Amsterdam, Holland America Line issued a PR statement stating that that it was shocked" by the crime.  But the choice of the word "shock" is intended by the HAL lawyers and risk management department to suggest that the crime was unforeseeable and, as such, it can't be liable for the rape.

The word is also intended to convey to the public that things like this just don't happen on HAL cruises. Saying the crime is "rare" is the favorite cruise line defense. Better yet, the cruise lines say that sexual assault is so rare and unpredictable that it's just "shocking."  

A couple of years ago, a young college student we represented was raped by a cabin attendant after the cruise ship sailed to Nassau. The cabin attendant who attacked her was in his late 20's. He entered the young girl's cabin when she was asleep by using his key card after hours.

The young woman's case was presented to our U.S. Congress. The Congressmen and Congresswomen were asked the rhetorical question why would a cruise line staff a woman's cabin with a male cabin attendant in his 20's? Why would a cruise line permit such a cabin attendant have a master key card that would permit him to enter a woman's cabin 24 hours a day?  Why didn't the cruise Key Card Cruise Ship Cabin Doorassign women cabin attendants to clean women's cabins? Why didn't the cruise line deactivate the cabin attendant's key card after hours?

Simple steps like these were suggested long ago as a way for the cruise lines to avoid an entirely predictable crime like this. But instead of learning a lesson, the cruise lines engaged in its usual PR statements: "crime is rare" or "our employees are carefully vetted" or "the safety of our passengers is our highest priority" or other PR poppycock.

So what did the woman staying in her cabin on Nieuw Amsterdam have to contend with on Valentine's Day? A male cabin attendant in his late 20's, responsible for a woman's cabin, who had access to a master key card.

It was a disaster waiting to happen.

Little did the victim know.

When will the cruise lines take the key cards away from the male cabin attendants?  When will the cruise lines warn their female guests that crimes like this have occurred over and over?

Do we really have to listen to cruise companies like HAL pretend that they are "shocked?" 

 

Photo Credit:  

Top: AP Photo/Marianne Armshaw via CTV

Bottom: CNN New Day

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Comments (15) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
former HAL waiter - February 19, 2014 8:15 AM

how many times something like this happen ?
lets say in the last 20 years ?

john - February 19, 2014 10:16 AM

this happens a lot to female crew but doesn't get reported as their jobs are at stake, and the lack of control by the management on board means master keys get shared out between friends.
I also know of at least 2 occasions where this kind of thing has happen to passengers.

bob smith - February 19, 2014 2:09 PM

profiling is only ok if done against males.... Sexism works both ways.

Jim Walker - February 19, 2014 2:11 PM

A man should not be assigned to a female's cabin or one with children inside. There are a million women from India, Indonesia and the Philippines trying to work as cabin attendants for U.S. based cruise ships. We are familiar with many rapes and molestations of women and children in cabins. Its always the men who do it. I have never seen a case where a female cabin attendant has ever attacked a passenger in 30 years.

Daniel Serban from Romania - February 19, 2014 2:32 PM

"this happens a lot to female crew" .. not to mention just plain sexual exploitation is a common occurrence.

Some officials give better or longer term positions to woman/men that sleep with them and layoff those that do not. Although inter-crew relationships are normally prohibited, they 'look the other way' and use it as an excuse to fire or lay someone off whenever it is convenient later.

Believe me its not hard to do. I myself as an official have done it many times. Find a worker (a woman coming from poverty that needs the work and therefore is scared to say no or thinks I can use my influence to get her a better job), and as long as I do my job, no one says anything.

Kristoffer - February 19, 2014 6:27 PM

Jim, if you looked outside the cruise world for a change, you would discover that female molestation of children and female-on-male rape are very, very real.

John Goldsmith - February 19, 2014 7:27 PM

What happened on this cruise is simply unacceptable, period.
Sexual assault, physical assault, verbal assault or simply bullying is unacceptable anywhere. At work we have rules, in society we have laws. There is NOTHING, NOWHERE or NOHOW that this happens.
All the news stations worldwide should be leading with this story, loud and long, over and over, until folks start cancelling cruises.
However, To blame every man for the actions of a few is unfair. A sexually deviant or pervert should not be hired by any resort, school, cruise line, or company , where if there is one chance in a thousand that they even come in contact with members of the opposite sex, or children.
If a law that requires that level of scrutiny be enacted, it should be supported world wide.
Again North American rules for all ships that even think of docking in U.S. or Canadian waters.

m walker - February 19, 2014 8:40 PM

very sad story. the comment made by john is an irresponsible post. cabin keys do not get passed around....every cabin entry is recorded to that individual's ID. i have worked at sea for 18 years as a senior officer and this is the first time i have heard of something this serious. something must have snapped to make him do this. as always we don't know the full story - only the media's version. to defend us, the crew, we have little rights with verbal abuse from passengers. we just have to smile and take it. even the comments passengers write are sometime offensive and can affect your job performance....jim - are there any rights for crew when it comes to freedom of speech from passengers? i am in no way defending his actions, what he did was unforgiveable, but in this day and age, language and attitude is on the extreme negative side much more. thanks

farid - February 20, 2014 3:45 AM

I agreed with walker,something must snapped him, i am a Crew member myself i've take a lot of unacceptable words from the guests,all we have to do just take It like a man and just split it into garbage,but we all just human being and we want to be threated as human being from company and passengers as well,and also jim, what's rhe rights for us?,and yes we need the job we need money,but in this modern day we can't take slavery act from company and passangers,and let's see from the bothside of The story,we're definetly disagreed of what he've Done,something just turn on the trigger,we. Need someone to listen to us.last but not least jim please investigate from all side,many thanks

I Gede Darmawijaya - February 20, 2014 9:57 AM

I am afraid this is an iceberg phenomena. To be objective, the investigation should be done more on the practices of sexual harassment that have been doing on inter-crew relations. If this is the case then the incident that happened recently was the copying action of the role models.
From the ethical business point of view, the cruise should be honest to its passengers and make sure there are no free sex practices on board.

Ian Moores - February 23, 2014 2:47 PM

Once more this is sensationalism at it's best. It is neither reasonable nor practical to have solely female cabin attendants cleaning female / children's cabins. Each cabin attendant is given maybe 20 cabins per day to clean, whether single, doubles or families. They all work extremely hard to achieve the best results and immaculate cabins for their guests and in return they will hopefully receive an additional gratuity which the majority will send back to their own family in their home country. Where there is the very rare occasion when one cabin attendant fails in his, or her, duty then it lets the rest of them down. Cabin keys are monitored, signed for and accounted for. One crime for every 25 million passengers carried annually is not a bad ratio. Compare it to any hotel, town or city, including your own city of Miami.

Jim Walker - February 23, 2014 3:10 PM

1 crime for every 25,000,000 passengers? What a false statement. No wonder the cruise industry and its supporters have reputations for dishonesty.

gede basur - March 6, 2014 8:48 AM

Don't blame each other who are right and who are wrong.... what ketut pujayasa have done with that ladies is wrong but his heart feeling sad because of that ladies word.....your tounge is your weapon...if you use a good ways will be good for each others but when you use a bad ways...you can imagine what will be happent.

Steve Delano - April 24, 2014 5:27 PM

You're wrong about this one. In fact, speaking as a former cruise ship employee myself, I'd say you're way off. The most likely sexual predator on a cruise ship is a naval officer. They pick up drunk women in the disco who are impressed by their white naval uniforms and, with visions of "An Officer And A Gentleman" dancing in their booze-addled brains, are lulled into a false sense of security when they follow an officer back to their private room. Cabin stewards are generally terrified of losing their jobs, while naval officers are the lords and masters of the ship and can pretty much do whatever they want and get away with it. As for the drunk female who gets taken advantage of and raped, it her word against the officer's - and this type of scenario happens more often than you can imagine. You are doing a great disservice to your readers by pointing the blame for onboard sexual assaults in the wrong direction.

Jim Walker - April 24, 2014 5:42 PM

Steve:

No. You're wrong. We have handled over 75 sexual assault cases on cruise ships. The majority are cabin attendants.

Yes, we have seen pervert captains, staff captains, security officers, ship doctors, department heads and stripes of all kinds seducing and then assaulting passengers and crew, but the majority of the predators are cabin attendants by far. The last case involved exactly this type of pervert occurred just 2 weeks ago:

http://www.cruiselawnews.com/2014/04/articles/sexual-assault-of-minors/cruise-nightmare-disney-crew-member-arrested-on-charges-of-molesting-child-on-disney-dream/

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