A SCHOOLGIRL claims she was gang raped on board a luxury ship during a Christmas holiday with her family in the latest case to rock the cruise industry.
The 15-year-old says she was targeted on Royal Caribbean’s popular Oasis of the Seas ship after boarding the boat on Boxing Day.
The teen boarded the Oasis of the Seas cruise ship with her two sisters and grandparents[/caption]
The shocking sex assault allegation is now being used to highlight the hidden horrors of cruise holidays.
According to a lawsuit filed in Florida, the teen became separated from her family and was plied with alcohol by a group of around 12 adult male passengers in the lounge.
She became “obviously drunk, disoriented and unstable” and the men then led her to a cabin where they “brutally assaulted and gang raped her”.
The girl – identified only as K.T. – claims multiple cruise staff witnessed her becoming drunk during the 2015 incident, but “did nothing to protect or help her”.
They failed to step in and stop the men from getting her intoxicated or luring her away, reports Kate Schneider for news.com.
The lawsuit was first filed in December 2016 but was dismissed for failing to state a claim, with Royal Caribbean arguing it was unforeseeable to the staff that a guest could be raped under the circumstances described.
The shocking sex assault allegation is now being used to highlight the hidden horrors of cruise holidays[/caption]
Another woman was ‘beaten, strangled and raped’ by a crew member[/caption]
She then appealed, and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal published an opinion last week reversing the decision and reinstating her negligence suit.
The court found K.T. had indeed sufficiently alleged the cruise company had breached its “duty of care” to the woman.
The complaint alleges that “as a direct and proximate result” of Royal Caribbean’s negligence and failures, including to warn of the increased risk of sex attacks on-board, K.T. was “directly and proximately caused to be sexually assaulted and/or physically battered and/or gang raped”.
Cruise passengers are also at higher risk of crime and injury on-board due to the “copious quantities” of alcohol on-board, according to the lawsuit, but little is done to protect them.
The appellate court found that: “The scope of Royal Caribbean’s duty to protect its passengers is informed, if not defined, by its knowledge of the dangers they face on-board.”
Chief Judge Ed Carnes stated: “Publicly available data reinforces the allegations in the complaint that Royal Caribbean knew or should have known about the danger of sexual assault aboard its cruise ships.”
A Royal Caribbean spokesperson told news.com.au that while they are unable to comment on pending litigation, “we do take this allegation very seriously”.
“The safety and security of our guests is our top priority,” the spokesperson said.
Unfortunately, K.T.’s case is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sexual assault at sea.
According to the website Cruise Law News, run by Jim Walker from Walker & O’Neill maritime lawyers, there have been hundreds of sex attacks reported on cruise ships in the last few years.
“A cruise ship is like a floating city of 10,000 people with no police,” Philip Gerson, a lawyer who testified before US Congress on behalf of a teen who was raped by two men in 2014.
You have a barbershop, you have a gym, you have retail stores, but no police
Lawyer Philip Gerson, on the perils of cruises
“You have a barbershop, you have a gym, you have retail stores, but no police. You have cruise ship security personnel, but their goal is to protect the cruise line, not you.”
There have been several shocking sexual assault cases that have made it before the courts in recent years.
One occurred just eight days prior to K.T.’s alleged attack when an 11-year-old girl was sexually assaulted on-board the Disney Magic ship.
A crew member later confessed and was sentenced to two years in jail.
And the following year another gang rape was reported, this time on-board the Carnival Breeze.
It involved another 15-year-old girl who was attacked by five men and dragged down a hallway into a room where she was stripped and violently raped.
A lawsuit accused the cruise line of negligence and failing to provide a safe environment for guests.
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Another horrific and high-profile rape case that highlighted issues with security on cruise ships was that of a woman who was “beaten, strangled and raped” by a crew member.
Ketut Pujayasa was sentenced to 30 years jail for the vicious assault, where he used a master key to enter the woman’s cabin and hide on her balcony, awaiting her return.
The 31-year-old woman was beaten with various objects inside the room and then was almost thrown overboard, but was able to hold onto the railing and escape.