Our firm represents a young crew member who was raped while she was unconscious aboard the Marina cruise ship operated by Oceania Cruises.

We usually do not write about cases we handle, but we are doing so only after the Oceania defense lawyers in Miami felt compelled to write an article about the case on their website.

The young woman (identified as Jane Doe in order to maintain her confidentiality as a victim) was found unconscious on the floor of her cabin by her roommate. The cruise ship doctor diagnosed anal tears and other signs of rape injuries. Oceania MarinaThe ship doctor did not permit the crew member to leave the ship (which was in the South Pacific) for medical rape-crisis psychotherapy or counseling. The crew member contracted herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV), and sustained substantial physical and mental injuries, due to the rape.

After Oceania refused to cooperate, we flew the rape victim to Miami, where the cruise line and hiring agent are located, in order for the cruise line to provide medical and psychological treatment within their network of doctors. We allege that Oceania refuses to provide the rape victim with ongoing and uninterrupted medical and therapy, as well as the “maintenance and cure” to which she is entitled as a crew member.

The defense attorneys explained on their web page that the case “stemmed from the crew member’s allegations that she was sexually assaulted by a fellow crew member. She filed suit against the defendants in Florida state court alleging Jones Act negligence, unseaworthiness, failure to provide medical treatment, failure to provide maintenance and cure, and failure to pay seaman wages. In addition to those claims, the crew member brought common law tort claims arising from the cruise line’s alleged conduct for false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, spoliation of evidence, invasion of privacy, and fraudulent misrepresentation.”

The federal judge ruled that all of the causes of action were subject to international arbitration and, as such, the case cannot be pursued in state court in Florida. The cruise line defense firm rejoiced in the decision, stating that “we invite you to contact us to discuss the ruling, its effect, or for other creative solutions to your legal issues.

Of course, this case is not remotely “solved.”

Next week we will proceed in the court-ordered arbitration process and will seek to bring this disturbing case to a hearing as soon as possible.

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.


Photo Credit: Jordandkatz licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

  • Raushan

    This is very shameful for the maritime industry. A crew member sexually assaulted other .. Plz get the stuffs in ua mind,cooperate,help,save,love these are the standard term.whuch a sailor does for the other sailor not harass and rape..

  • Donna Brown

    This does not surprise me. I was on a Caribbean cruise on the Marina. The ship itself was beautiful with granite and marble in the bathrooms, Mahogany closets, beautiful library with fireplaces and nice restaurants. However, I found the crew and management on the ship to be very unfriendly. I had times when I felt that they wished I was not there. Other passengers on the ship were not friendly either. I am not a complainer and did not do any complaining. So that wasn’t the problem. That was my one and only cruise on Oceania. I vowed that I would never go on their cruise line again. I can understand why they would not help this poor woman. I hope they end up paying for their mistakes.

  • Capt. Rockwell Jackson

    Is this ship’s flag State signatory of the MLC 2006 convention,I’m wondering how well that company is training their personnel to deal with such complaints. any policy and procidures in place.

  • Dan

    Of course, the cruise companies they will never sail into US waters with any issue. They will go back to Nassau and disembark the crew member there. You need more lobby into Washington.

  • david

    You guys must see Sexual harassment on NCL NORWEGIAN ships

  • Andy Smithers

    Governments around the world throw up their hands and say what can we do…Big cruise lines will never be sued for damages in a court of law. Lets be clear governments work in tandem with these behemouth companies to protect the wealthy non tax paying entities because they are Symbiotic Scum, that depends one on each other being paid to never pass laws that should apply to real world situations at sea. Lets be clear, harm will never be ajudicated until the laws, the elected, and the paid lobbyist are called on their complicity to evade legal law suits that would be “slam dunks” had they not occurred at sea.

  • Not only Oceania cruises has such isues,most of the cruise companies not follow the rule about sexual harassement.Speaking frankly on many companies and ships,Captains and Managers,fist of all,usin their positions to forse females they like to sleep with them.I was the witness of such things on Luise,ISPL and others ships,where such things have place.And because of such high positions it is quite imposible to proove the truth,and surely companies try to hide this situations and make the victim guilty.

  • Isadora

    This is only one of the psychological abuses that this company, Oceania Cruises, commits against its employees. I worked there, exactly in the same ship, Marina. What I can say is that they treat their crew as a piece of shit. I can’t even count how many times I was mistreated by the superiors or officers. They don’t think twice before being rude with you for minor reasons.

  • Vic and Barb rouse

    We were just about ready to book a trip.

    We read above and now have second thoughts.

    We have over 300 days with Holland America and we think we will stay where we are.

  • casperoconnor

    its sad in this crew members situation and i realy hope it gets resolved ,but to go and bad mouth a company is also wrong the person who comitted the crime should be acted agaist i my self worked for ociania cruise and opened marina riviera and nautica and the company was just amaising guest relations was the best and crew is friendly and profesional and like a family and the company takes care of the crew after ociania i worked for disney cruise lines and just like ociania the crew is their first priority and there are polisies and prosedures to be follow and in place for the crew like MLC 2006 and independant complaints organisations to go to personaly yes it hapens all over the world and not just at sea so dont judge before you have worked for a company and if you have and had problems hadle it in a profesional way not like this