Italian newspapers are reporting that a 34 year-old waiter was sentenced to 10 months in jail for assaulting and attempting to rape a 17 year-old girl on the Costa Fascinosa. The Il Gazzettino first reported the incident which occurred three years ago on October 19th during a cruise in the Adriatic Sea, between Istanbul and Dubrovnik.
La Nuova di Venezia says that the waiter, identified as Floriano Fernandes, assaulted the girl in a bathroom of the cruise ship but she successfully resisted the attempted rape. The following day, the ship called on Venice but the captain failed to report and/or delayed in accurately reporting the assault and attempted rape. In a report to the Coast Guard, the captain, identified as Ignatius Giardina, from Sicily, reportedly wrote that there was no "extraordinary event" during the cruise. The Italian prosecutor alleged that the captain fraudulently misrepresented the fact that a crime had occurred on the ship and prosecuted him for not properly reporting it.
Captain Giardina has worked for Costa for 36 years, first as a cadet back in1980, later as a staff captain and safety officer, and as a master for the last 16 years.
The captain’s defense lawyer argued that "extraordinary event" referred to a navigation point of view, such as a collision, and was not referring to the attempted rape. The captain was acquitted of trying to cover the crime up.
I first read about the assault on the Crew Center web site.
Sexual assaults on girls and women are not uncommon on cruise ships and Costa ships in particular. In October of last year, the Italian press reported on an incident where a Costa crew member allegedly sexually molested a 15 year-old girl aboard the Costa Diadema. Two months earlier, on the same Costa cruise ship, a bartender allegedly followed an 18 year-old French woman into her cabin and raped her.
In 2013, a female Costa security guard alleged that she was sexually assaulted by her supervisor who was permitted to fly back to his home country after the crime. She subsequently won a civil case against her employer.
This is the first case, however, where I have heard that an officer (master) of a cruise ship was prosecuted for allegedly not properly reporting an allegation of sexual assault. I have seen many scenarios where the cruise line tried to cover a rape up but I have never seen any prosecutor willing to levy such allegations in a criminal court against the master of a ship.
Photo Credit: By René Grob CC BY-SA 4.0.