U.S. Merchant Marine Students Sue Shipping Giant Maersk Over Alleged Sexual Assault and Harassment at Sea

United States Merchant Marine Academy students filed separate lawsuits against shipping giant Maersk on June 14 after it “failed to adequately protect them from sexual assault and sexual harassment.”

The two female students filed two related complaints in New York state court after they allegedly underwent sexual assault and harassment in the same Maersk ship during their respected “Sea Year” training program, two years apart.

In the first lawsuit, Hope Hicks — who had published her allegations in a blog post last year under the pseudonym Midshipman-X — alleged that a superior officer raped her while she was on board the ship Alliance Fairfax in 2019 as an engine cadet, according to a statement from her lawyers.

Hicks alleged that she suffers from “severe and ongoing emotional distress as a result of the traumatic events.”

In the second lawsuit, a student known as Midshipman-Y alleged that she was “so severely sexually harassed” that she slept “clutching a knife for protection” on the floor of her locked bathroom, according to the attorneys.

Midshipman-Y alleged that another crew member — known to be “violent” — subjected her to “extreme sexual harassment, unwanted touching and discrimination” while she was aboard the ship last summer.

Other crew members and officers were aware that Midshipman-Y was being harassed, however, “no one intervened or reported the misconduct,” the plaintiff’s attorneys said.

Both complaints request a jury trial.

Maersk said in a statement that it is reviewing the lawsuits.

“We take all allegations of assault or harassment very seriously, and we remain committed to ensuring that the shipboard environment is safe, supportive, and welcoming to all,” the company said in a statement, as quoted by CNN.


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