News Story States Costa Concordia Cruise Ship a Hotbed of Sexual Harassment

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.

One of the crewmembers, who was a nurse aboard a Costa cruise ship who worked with Captain Schettino, said she had to resign because she saw “corruption, drugs and prostitution”.

This same crewmember stated she had worked on three different Costa cruise ships, “each one worse than the other”.

The other crewmember who was quoted worked on the Costa Concordia in 2010 and said that very often the officers and other crew were drunk. She was quoted as saying that the question was asked “If there’s an emergency, who’s going to save the ship?” She also claimed that she was “molested” by a crewmember who was on drugs.

These startling allegations, along with the confirmed death toll of 25 from the Costa Concordia disaster, is raising serious questions and concerns about the safety of cruises, and showing the need for stricter laws and regulations of the cruise ship industry. This article, and information comes on the heels of Congressional Hearings looking into the Costa Concordia disaster and what lessons can be learned from it.

I’ve been handling maritime cases for over 30 years, and I’ve seen an increasing number of cases involving sexual assaults, and crimes, as well as drug use and excessive consumption of alcohol onboard cruise ships. As the size of the industry has grown to include the many mega cruise ships we hear about, these issues become very serious concerns for the safety of passengers onboard cruise ships. Hopefully the Costa Concordia disaster will bring some good out of it, by prompting these Congressional Hearings focusing on the cruise ship industry. Of course, these hearings must result in the passage of increased regulations and safety laws.

My firm continues to represent passengers and crewmembers who suffer harm at sea, including helping family members who have lost loved ones from an incident occurring onboard a cruise ship. We are currently helping passengers and crewmembers who were onboard the Costa Concordia.