Brais & Brais' lawyers filed suit against NCL on behalf of a passenger who asserts she was raped and sexually assaulted in a public bathroom aboard the Norwegian Sun cruise ship. On April 11, 2011, the passenger (whose name is kept confidential due to the extreme nature of this lawsuit) was participating in an NCL organized "pub crawl" whereby crewmembers took her and other guests throughout the cruise ship stopping briefly to drink at various bars. The complaint alleges the bartenders aboard the ship encouraged passengers to drink above their limits. At one stop the passenger refused the drink offered, but the bartender insisted she drink, returned the beverage to her and stated "no wastee, no wastee." After the event, the passenger went to a public bathroom. While in a stall, she heard her name called. The next thing she knew, the door to the stall busted open, a man spun her around and raped her.
The complaint filed in Miami, Florida Federal Court alleges NCL created an unreasonably dangerous condition by feeding the passenger high amounts of alcohol to the point where she became a target for a sexual predator and was unable to defend herself. The complaint also alleges NCL breached its duty to the passenger by not escorting her to her cabin after the event or otherwise protect her while in a vulnerable condition.
It is terrible but rapes and sexual assaults occur on cruise ships with some regularity. In fact, during a short 5 month period 41 attacks were reported among the 25 major cruise lines. Such a high number is staggering. Based on these 41 reports, the FBI opened 13 investigative cases. According to the FBI, 5 of these cases were later closed due to victim reluctance to press charges or because the government declined to prosecute.
The problem of cruise ship rapes and sexual assaults was addressed by Congress with the passage of the Cruise Vessel Safety & Security Act. Signed into law on July 27, 2010, this Act requires, among other things, all cruise ship cabin doors be outfitted with peepholes, limited access to cabins by crewmembers, rape kits available at the ship's medical faculty and that all claims of rape and sexual assault be reported to the FBI.