Articles Posted in Cruise Ship Rape & Sexual Assault

On April 23, I wrote about how in March boaters in distress were ignored by the Star Princess.

One of the boaters, an 18-year-old named Adrian Vasquez, survived after 28 days at sea but his two friends died, one only hour after the cruise ship passed. Today it is being reported that the one survivor has filed a lawsuit against Princess Cruise lines for failing to assist, and just driving by.

I have written about the former child supervisor, Paul Trotter, who admitted to police that he sexually abused children onboard the cruise ships he worked for and was arrested in February for these actions.Trotter worked for Cunard Cruise lines and today the 34-year-old man starts his four year sentence for the crime he committed.

Also according to USA TODAY, “The Daily Echo of Southampton, England reports that Paul Trotter of Pontefract, England also will be placed on the U.K.’s sex offenders’ register for life and banned from working with children.” He admitted to sexual assaulting 13 year old boys between the years of 2007 and 2011. He also admitted to “taking, making and possession of indecent images of the children, who were between the ages of 7 and 13.” It is still confusing how he was able to commit these disgusting crimes without detection. According to the president and managing director of Cunard Cruise lines Peter Shanks, they will be changing their recruitment process for youth centers onboard their ships. Maybe something they should have realized much earlier!

In March I wrote a blog about an assistant cruise director for Norwegian Cruise Lines on board the cruise ship Norwegian Star who was arrested for having sexual relations with a 16-year-old passenger. Senad Djedovic, a 29-year-old crewmember, was also found in possession of graphic photos the girl sent him and videos of child pornography. Yesterday the Tampa Bay Tribune informed us that Djedovic has agreed to plead guilty to a federal pornography charge. Senad Djedovic faces up to ten years in federal prison after he agrees to this federal charge of possessing child pornography. On Monday a plea agreement was filed in United States District Court. Djedovic met this 16-year-old girl from Minnesota on a seven-day cruise that went from Tampa to the Caribbean on January 29. It was discovered that the two had a sexual encounter on a staircase and Djedovic was aware of the young girl’s age. After the cruise ended they continued with a relationship via emails which included “naughty photos.”

Djedovic’s crime was discovered after he showed some of his crew members the pictures he received from the 16-year-old passenger.

Daunting news recently surfaced in regards to al Qaeda plans in a CNN article posted yesterday titled “Documents reveal al Qaeda’s plans for seizing cruise ships, carnage in Europe.” Through investigations obtained from an Austrian last year, it has been discovered that the terrorist group had plans to seize cruise ships. On May 16 of last year, an Austrian man named Maqsood Lodin was investigated by police in Berlin. The police found in his underpants memory cards and a digital storage device. After several weeks of trying to encode what was in these devices, the German investigators discovered over 100 al Qaeda documents which included some of their plans for future attacks. This included plots to seize cruise ships and initiate attacks in Europe.

Also discovered in these devices were terrorist training manuals. According to the CNN article, “one source says that they are the most important haul of al Qaeda materials in the last year, besides those found when U.S. Navy SEALs raided Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a year ago and killed the al Qaeda leader.”

It was reported that a cruise ship passenger onboard the Star Princess is still haunted by images from a recent cruise in March aboard the passenger cruise ship Star Princess, owned by Princess Cruise Lines. The haunted images obviously are not what this passenger expected when taking a cruise onboard the Star Princess. I am sure the passenger expected to come back with lots of images, but of pleasant and beautiful experiences during the cruise.

However, the image that is haunting Judy Meredith is her observing boaters that were in distress in a small fishing boat in the open waters off the Pacific Coast of Panama. Judy Meredith, along with other passengers, were looking for seabirds. What they spotted was frantic gestures coming from a small fishing boat that was adrift a couple of miles away. Despite the passengers’ efforts to contact the United States Coast Guard through the internet service onboard the ship, and despite reporting the distressed boaters to a crewmember, the passengers are trying to figure out how this large cruise ship failed to initiate any rescue efforts. The Star Princess kept sailing and made no efforts to rescue the distressed boaters.

I continue to receive phone calls on regular basis from attorneys throughout the United States asking whether the one year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for a cruise ship passenger who has been injured onboard a cruise ship (which include those operated by Carnival Corporation (Carnival Cruise Lines), Celebrity Cruise Lines, Costa Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), Regent-Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCL), and Silver Sea Cruises).

This one year time limitation to file a lawsuit for a cruise ship passenger that has been injured onboard a cruise ship is authorized by a Federal statute. The passenger tickets that contain this one year limitation to file a lawsuit has been held enforceable by our Supreme Court of the United States. Frequently, I receive a phone call from an attorney who wants to refer a cruise ship passenger case but has failed to recognize the one year time limitation, and it has been too late to help the cruise ship passenger. Other times I have received a phone call that an attorney has learned the hard way about the one year time limit when a lawsuit that has been filed is met with a motion to dismiss on statute of limitations grounds.

ABC News reports on its website that the California passenger on a cruise ship, Rick Ehlert, 45-years of age, of Thousand Oaks, California, who I had previously reported about him dropping a stern anchor on the passenger cruise ship the M/S Rymdam, was sentenced to jail for two months. He pled guilty to being drunk onboard the cruise ship when he dropped the anchor during a sailing from Mexico to Florida.

Ehlert also had deployed a life buoy after he dropped the anchor.

I had previously reported about sexual assaults on cruise ships, including sexual assaults on minors. This has been an ongoing problem on cruise ships for many years, and has called the public’s attention to the fact that crimes, including sexual assaults, occur on board cruise ships at a much greater frequency than was known or expected.

Recently, a 29-year-old crewmember, actually an assistant cruise director for Norwegian Cruise Lines working on board the cruise ship Norwegian Star was arrested for having sexual relations with a 16-year-old passenger that was travelling with her parents.

Not only was Senad Djedovic, an assistant cruise director, arrested for having sexual relations with a 16-year-old, the F.B.I. located videos of child pornography on his computer’s hard drive. Also alarmingly, they located very graphic e-mails, including sexually-explicit photos, that he exchanged with the 16-year-old passenger. “I miss you big time….you little young girl” is one of the reported messages.

Djedovic had been an employee with Norwegian Cruise Lines for approximately six years, and the incident in question happened aboard the NCL cruise ship the Norwegian Star. He has been arrested for having sexual relations with a minor and possessing inappropriate pictures of the 16-year-old victim as well as pictures of other minors on his computer. He is also facing federal child pornography charges.

Djedovic admitted he knew the age of his victim before he engaged in sexual relations in the stairwell on board the cruise ship during the last night of the cruise.
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I reported that on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation held a hearing to look into the Costa Concordia disaster. The hearing was stacked with witnesses who were friends of the cruise ship industry. The hearing was reported as being nothing more than a forum to praise the cruise ship industry, not critique it as it deserves.

Today, March 1, 2012, the Senate Commerce Committee held their hearing entitled “Oversight of the Cruise Ship Industry: Are Current Regulations Sufficient to Protect Passengers and the Environment?”

A very interesting article was found in The Telegraph entitled Costa Concordia cruise ship ‘was hotbed of sexual harassment’. The article goes on to talk about allegations that the Costa Concordia and other cruise ships that were owned by Costa were hotbeds of sexual harassment, and also for drinking and drug abuse. The statements were made by former crewmembers. The article states that ex-female crewmembers told Italian prosecutors that they saw officers snorting cocaine, drinking to the point of intoxication, as well as harassing female staff. One of the crewmembers was quoted as saying that Captain Francesco Schettino, the commander of the Costa Concordia vessel, “used women as goods to be exchanged”.

These allegations are reported to be contained in over 5,000 pages of evidence that have been gathered by the prosecutors in Italy during their investigation into the January 13th Costa Concordia disaster.