A 23 year old female Filipino crew member, who alleges that she was raped onboard a NYK cruise ship, filed a claim against the cruise line in Tokyo, Japan,
According to the Manila Bulletin, the Free Legal Assistance for Seafarers said that crew member filed a civil suit after Filipino law enforcement agencies failed to assist her file criminal charges as the alleged rape was committed on high seas.
The victim alleges that she was sexually assaulted while onboard MS Asuka II (the old Crystal Harmony), which was sailing from Saipan to Australia. The crew member alleged that four other Filipino seafarers convinced her to drink with them. The newspaper says that she woke up the next morning naked with one of the men. She immediately reported that she had been assaulted but the men denied raping her.
When she disembarked in Sydney, Australia, she reported the incident to the Australian Customs and Border Protection, which forwarded her report to INTERPOL.
When the crew member returned to Manila she reported the alleged crime but was turned away, according to the Manila Bulletin. She went to a local criminal investigation bureau which could not assist her because the alleged crime took place on the high seas. Her attorneys are now considering filing criminal charges against the four Filipinos in Australia because the cruise ship was heading to Australia when the alleged crime occurred.
This case is one of many cases where female crew members are unable to pursue assailants at sea due to a lack of concern of the cruise lines and jurisdictional hurdles blocking prosecutions of crimes on the high seas.
Photo Credit: D.Seeruttun Creative Commons 3.0 Wikipedia