A crew member from Vanuatu was sentenced to five years and eight months in jail on Tuesday after he was found guilty two months ago of raping a co-worker during their employment for P&O Cruises’ Pacific Dawn.

A court in Vanuatu sentenced former Pacific Dawn crew member Noel Isaac to a count of  sexual intercourse without consent in December of 2017, according to a recent article in the Daily Post newspaper in Vanuatu.  The court had earlier found him guilty of one count of an act of indecency as well as one count of sexual intercourse without consent.

The court found beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Isaac trespassed into the victim’s cabin on the morning of December 6, 2017. Despite her pleas, he overcame her resistance and committed what the newspaper described as full and forcible sexual intercourse with her without her consent shortly before he disembarked from the cruise ship.

The victimed crew member reportedly did not return to her job duties and was forced to leave the ship due to the trauma. She later notified P&O that she would not return to work due to the assault. She reported the crime to the local police who reportedly had to halt the investigation awaiting the ship’s next visit to obtain the CCTV images.

The victim  was a new hire who worked in the galley. She boarded the Pacific Dawn in Brisbane in early December 2017; the ship thereafter sailed for New Caledonia and Vanuatu. The assault took place just a few days after she started work on the cruise ship.

The newspaper describes Mr. Isaac as having difficulties answering basic questions at trial about the incident. He claimed that he did not know where the victim’s cabin was located on the ship and denied ever going in to her cabin two days after he first met her. However, the evidence showed that Mr. Isaac entered and remained in the victim’s cabin for 40 minutes on the morning in question, according to the local newspaper.

Convictions of crew members for sexual assault are rare, due to the fact that flag states are not interested or equipped to investigate such crimes which occur in far off locations at sea. In this case, Carnival Corporation owned the Pacific Dawn, which was operated by P&O Cruises Australia and registered in London. This case, however, involved a crime committed by a citizen of Vanuatu where the ship called on its capital, Port Vila and where the crew member resided.

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Photo credit: P&O Cruises via Traveller magazine.

 

Todd Nordahl - Sexual Assault - Royal CaribbeanYesterday, I wrote a short article here about a 49 year old man who reportedly sexually assaulted a 15 year old boy on the Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas cruise ship.  As I mentioned earlier, a FBI press release states that Todd Nordahl, of Tuscon Arizona, was arrested when the Royal Caribbean cruise ship returned to Galveston from a seven-night cruise. Nordahl was charged with sexually abusing the boy on March 27. He allegedly provided alcohol to the minor victim, made sexual advances toward the child and then sexually assaulted him.

Sexual assaults on Royal Caribbean cruise ships, as well as on other cruise lines, are more frequent than the cruise industry will admit. There are many hundreds of crimes which have occurred over the years on the Royal Caribbean fleet – child porn freaks, child predators and sexual deviants – both crew members and fellow passengers.  

In 1999, Royal Caribbean commissioned a study to access the frequency of sexual assaults on its fleet of cruise ships. The independent experts concluded that sexual misconduct on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise ship occurred "frequently." 

Royal Caribbean Sexual Assault Cruise ShipThe experts recommended that certain steps be taken to reduce the number of incidents. In response, the cruise line implemented none of the recommendations. Instead, Royal Caribbean began a PR campaign stating that sexual misconduct was "rare" and touted that the "safety of passengers was its highest priority." The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) later adopted the "safety is our highest priority" slogan as its official talking point.

Our firm was the first to uncover and obtain an order compelling the cruise line to release this report to the public.

Royal Caribbean, in my assessment, continues to perpetuate a fraud on the American public by telling them that their cruise ships are safe, when it knows that that sexual assaults are "frequent."  

Since then there have been many sexual assaults of children throughout the Royal Caribbean – Celebrity Cruises fleet of ships.  Here are some of the recent cases of child porn addicts, sexual predators and men convicted of assaulting children aboard Royal Caribbean / Celebrity cruise ships:

Two years ago, a 15 girl was sexually assaulted by who she describes as a uniformed Royal Caribbean crew member aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas cruise ship. The crime occurred after the cruise employee let himself into the child’s cabin while her parents were at a different part of the cruise ship. Like most cruise ship crime cases, the FBI did not arrest anyone and the crime remains unsolved. Child Porn Royal Caribbean Cruise ShipSee the video below to watch the disturbing story.

Timothy David Webb, age 32, (left) was arrested after he disembarked Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship Grandeur of the Seas as a passenger at the Norfolk cruise ship terminal. Webb is a convicted sex offender and has a prior conviction sodomy in the state of Virginia. The customs agents pulled Webb from a line of passengers disembarking the cruise ship and searched his laptop, which contained child pornography videos.

A 15 year old girl was raped on the Allure of the Seas last year. The crime occurred after the girl was lured from the cruise ship’s teen club called "Fuel" when a 15 year old boy told her he was having a party in his room. Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship The young girl, who was vacationing with her family, was led to believe that she would meet friends there. However, after entering entering the cabin, she was confronted by an older passenger, Luiz Scavone, age 20. His full name is Luiz Antônio Scavone Neto (right). The Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) said that Scavone and the 15 year old boy prevented her from leaving, removed her clothing, forced oral sex, and then both raped her. "The victim told them ‘no’ several times and tried to leave but was not able to," according to the BSO. Scavone and the 15-year-old boy have been charged with "lewd and lascivious battery." Both pled guilty to the crimes.

Celebrity Cruises Sexual AssaultAmado Nicholas Hernandez, age 31, (left) is a pedophile who was employed by Celebrity Cruises as an audiovisual manager and provided onboard guest-entertainment services aboard the Constellation cruise ship. Hernandez was arrested after police determined that his computer contained 450 photographs and about 250 video files of child pornography portraying a total of 44 different victims. The criminal complaint filed against Hernandez alleged that upcoming cruises included several stops in Mexico. Hernandez, in documented online chats, reportedly had bragged that he had bought young boys for sex in Mexico and “almost offed one,” the criminal complaint alleges. He reportedly dressed as Santa Claus on the Celebrity cruise ship and was photographed with the children of passengers sitting on his lap.  

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Sexual Assault A Royal Caribbean crew member has pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of a 14 year old girl during a Caribbean cruise. 25 year old Fabian Palmer admitted engaging in sexual relations with the girl during a cruise from Baltimore in December 2010. Crew member Palmer was employed by Royal Caribbean as a pool attendant and interacted regularly with passengers during cruises. He met the girl and her family earlier during the cruise. Palmer took the child into a men’s locker room on the Enchantment of the Seas and engaged in sexual acts in the bathroom.

Federal authorities arrested an Idaho man who took a cruise from Port Canaveral with more than 1,000 Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Porn images of child pornography on a laptop he took on the cruise ship. According to a complaint filed in Orlando federal court, authorities were inspecting cruise passengers onboard Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas cruise ship on December 10, 2012, when they discovered that the laptop computer of cruise passenger Gary Lee Reed, of Blackfoot Idaho, had around 1,162 images and videos depicting child pornography. The images included sexual abuse of toddlers and babies. Reed reportedly admitted that he has viewed child pornography for many years. He was arrested and subsequently indicted by an Orlando federal grand jury on a child pornography charge.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Child Predator A Pittsburgh-area man was sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison for traveling to Florida in order to take a cruise so he could molest a young boy. Seventy-three-year-old Sherwood Stevenson pleaded guilty to traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. Stevenson fondled a 6-year-old boy while in a hot tub on the Royal Caribbean Liberty if the Seas cruise ship in December 2009. When that boy got away, Stevenson made brief contact with another boy. Stevenson told investigators he took the cruise so he could molest young boys.

We have handled over 75 sexual assaults of women and children on cruise ships over the past decade. We maintain a large data-base of many hundreds of such crimes on cruise ships.

Cruise lines will never tell you the truth about sexual assault. It is the cruise industry’s dirtiest secret.    

Tonight CNN’s Headline News ("HLN") featured  an interview with the Senior Vice President of the International Cruise Victims ("ICV") regarding the latest cruise rape story involving a thirty-one year old man who participated in and encouraged the gang rape of a fifteen year old victim aboard a Carnival cruise ship.   

ICV VP Laurie Dishman appeared tonight on the CNN channel discussing her personal experience as a rape victim on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship when a part time security guard sexually assaulted Cruise Ship Rape her while she was cruising with Michelle, her best friend since she was five years old.

The crime was particularly brutal and the response by the rapist’s employer, Royal Caribbean Cruises, was especially irresponsible. You can read Laurie’s story at the website of the ICV here.

Laurie hired me to represent her. Laurie is the most motivated and strongest woman, scratch that – person, I have ever met.  She told me that her goal was to convene a hearing on her case to bring awareness to the problem of cruise ship sexual assaults.  She wanted a law to be passed to protect other cruise passengers.  

She also instructed me to take Royal Caribbean to the task. Not to be modest, but Laurie and I kicked the living crap out of the cruise line. She obtained the highest recovery against a cruise line to date for a sexual assault. Incidentally, there were several Congressional hearings held which discussed Laurie’s case and she met with President Obama to discuss the problem rapes on cruise ships. A new cruise safety law, the Cruise Vessel Security & Safety Act, was passed largely due to her efforts and her friends in the ICV.  After all, she traveled over 30 times at her own expense to lobby Congress to pass the much needed law to protect cruise passengers.  

Laurie and I (and my wife and kids) became best friends in the process of our several years of litigating against Royal Caribbean and attending hearings in Washington D.C. about crimes on cruise ships.

Laurie has taken her cause to the public as the Vice President of the ICV to educate the public Cruise Ship Rape - Sexual Assaultabout cruise ship crimes.

Tonight it was energizing to see Laurie on CNN explaining the danger of cruise ship rape to the public in the latest incident of an adult buying huge amounts of alcohol for underage boys who participated in the gang rape of the 10th grade child on the Carnival cruise ship. Laurie pointed out that on the day the story broke about the booze fueled gang rape, Carnival announced it all-you-can-drink booze package.  

For $50 a day, you can drink till you puke, or until your posse rapes someone (my editorial, not Laurie’s)

You will continue to see Laurie at a national level speaking out for crime victims.  

Thanks Laurie for advocating for the cruising public!

There has been a lot of news lately about cruise ship disasters, like ship fires, groundings and sinkings. But the most likely danger that a passenger, woman or child, faces during a cruise is rape.

Cruise ships are essentially floating cities.  Increasingly larger floating cities at that. Like any city, a cruise ship has crime.  Over the past decade the most likely crime on a cruise ship we have seen is rape.

Cruise lines deny that rapes occur frequently.  Just two days ago the cruise lines issued a PR release Cruise Ship Crime - Rape - Sexual Assaultstating that cruising is "absolutely safe." This is part of the problem.  The cruise lines are so motivated to portray an image of an "absolutely safe" vacation experience that they will go to great lengths to protect that marketing image, including cleaning crime scenes and covering the crimes up.

A decade ago, we obtained a confidential internal study (pursuant to a court order) in which one cruise line concluded that sexual crimes occurred "routinely" in its fleet of cruise ships.  It then embarked on a campaign of representing to the public that such crimes were "rare."

During a series of Congressional hearings several years ago, the same cruise line told Congress that it had 66 rapes over a period of 3 years, for an average of 22 rapes a year.  But during a court case, a trial court in Miami ordered the cruise to to produce its internal documents which revealed the truth – the cruise line actually 273 incidents of sexual assault, harassment and "inappropriate sexual touching."

All of the major cruise lines track sexual crimes and know that there are hundreds of incidents of sexual assault and battery each year during cruises.   

Walker & O’Neill maritime lawyers in Miami handle cases exclusively cases against cruise lines.

Our firm has handled many sexual assault cases and molestation cases involving against Carnival, Celebrity, Cunard, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean cruise lines.

In the cases we have handled, the shipboard rapes were committed by a wide variety of cruise employees – staff captain, ship doctor, chief engineer, hotel director, security guard, cabin attendant, bartender, cleaner, and child supervisor.  The sexual assaults occurred in various locations on the cruise ship, with the most common locations being the passenger cabin, storage room, and crew bathroom.  The most likely assailant?  A male cabin steward from a country outside of the U.S. where it is impossible to conduct a meaningful background check.

Don’t expect the cruise lines to be your friend.  They will take the side of their employees every time. And for a number of reasons, law enforcement, especially the FBI, has a terrible record of prosecuting crimes which occur on the high seas.   

Jim Walker - Walker & O'Neill Maritime Lawyers - Cruise LawJim Walker and Lisa O’Neill are both cum laude graduates from Duke University where they met 34 years ago. Jim attended Tulane Law School in New Orleans and has practiced maritime law since 1983. Lisa was a member of law review at the University of Florida Law School and has practiced law since 1985.

Jim and Lisa have represented several sexual assault cruise victims who testified before our U.S. Congress.  These women were assaulted by a bartender, a part-time security guard and even a diving instructor during a cruise sponsored excursion.  

Examples of settlements for cruise ship rape and molestation we obtained include: over $3,000,000, $2,500,000, $1,500,000, $1,000,000, $900,000, $650,000, $500,000, $385,000 and $250,000. (All cases are different, depending on the facts.  These settlements may not be reflective of the reasonable compensation in your case).

Here are what people are saying about Jim:

"Top Maritime Lawyer" – ABA Journal.

"Top Cruise Lawyer" – USA Today.

"Prominent Private Practice Maritime Attorney" – Fox News.

"Prominent Cruise Plaintiff Attorney" – Law.com (America Law Media).

If you or your child were assaulted during a cruise, don’t hire a lawyer who practices "cruise law" on a part time basis. Contact the Cruise Law attorneys in Miami and let us be your advocates.

If you have a situation to discuss, email us right away: jim@cruiselaw.com or call our toll free number for a free and confidential consultation: 1 800 256-1518.

 

Photo credits:  Carnival cruise ship at Government Cut, Miami – Jim Walker 

Rebecca Coriam - Missing - Disney Wonder Cruise ShipFollowing the airing of "Lost at Sea" program on Australia’s Dateline television program, a newspaper in Australia published a short article entitled: "Cruise Ships Perfect Ground for Predators – Investigation."

The Herald Sun mentions our firm and the case of Rebecca Coriam who disappeared from the Disney cruise ship Wonder.  The article also mentions case of members of the International Cruise Victims (ICV) organization:

"Criminals are more likely to get away with serious crimes on cruise ships than anywhere else, a maritime lawyer has warned, with 200 people vanishing at sea worldwide in the past decade.

Jim Walker said about half the disappearances have some factor of foul play.

"The place to get away with a crime is on a cruise ship,” he told the SBS program Dateline.

"The place to be a sexual predator and prey on children is on a cruise ship."

"If you’re a rapist, you’re more likely to get away with committing the crime on a cruise ship on the high seas.

"All of this is happening out in international waters, typically.

"There are no policemen on the scene . . . You can’t summons a police officer who will run onto the crime scene. So they’re out there by themselves.” 

In Australia, the death of Australian woman Dianne Brimble received widespread media coverage with Dianne Brimble - Cruise Ship Victimstrong criticism of the party culture that existed aboard cruise ships.

Ms Brimble died aboard a P&O Cruise ship of a drug overdose after consuming a date rape drug and is alleged to have received callous treatment from passengers she was with at the time of taking the drug.

Mr. Walker said the cruise industry knew it had a problem more than a decade ago and tried to fix it through slick advertising and marketing, rather than taking the hard steps they needed to really clean their act up.

"You have cabin attendants now who are being hired from Third World countries – no disrespect to small Caribbean islands – that have no databases.

"You can’t track them even if you wanted to."

"You don’t know what you’re getting. But you’re hiring a 28-year-old man to be responsible for 12-year-old girls’ cabin.

"Mum and dad don’t know what’s happening. They’re at the casino, they’re at the show, they’re up at the nightclub, and the cabin attendant gets back into the cabin – that’s still happening. Those cases are still happening.”

While the cruise industry has followed some guidelines, such as installing peepholes in cabin doors, Dateline reporter Nick Lazaredes said few ships had upgraded their video systems or installed man-overboard alarm systems.

Those who have gone missing at sea include 23-year-old English woman Rebecca Coriam, who disappeared while working on the Disney Wonder cruise ship.

Her family was shocked to learn that there would be no US involvement in investigating her disappearance.

When the family of 20-year-old son Blake Kepley, who went missing on a family cruise to Alaska, Merrian Carver - Missing - Celebrity Cruisesrequested that the captain review footage from security cameras, they were told that wasn’t possible.

Ken Carver’s 40-year-old daughter, Merrian, also vanished off a Celebrity Cruises voyage to Alaska in 2004.

Mr Carver, who is now president of an activist group called International Cruise Victims, said he was stonewalled at every turn as he searched for answers to her disappearance.

The story eventually became the subject of five congressional hearings, which resulted in America’s cruise, vessel and safety act.

The newspaper contained links to some of the more disturbing stories the cruise lines would prefer you not know about:

CBS: Woman Speaks Out About Cruise Ship Crime

BBC: Cruise Passengers ‘Not Protected From Serious Crime’

Guardian: Rebecca Coriam – Lost at Sea

ABC (US): Cruise Cover-Up?

I am also posting the Dateline Special "Lost at Sea" in case you have not seen it yet:

 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=bLgc1dqhCsQ%3Frel%3D0