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Reported Rape aboard Carnival Cruise Ship Liberty

September 13, 2015 Cruise Ship Sexual Assault / Rape Law

carnival_liberty_alleged_rape.jpgReaders may remember from our Labor Day post that the Carnival Liberty experienced an engine-room fire while the ship was moored at the pier in St. Thomas, USVI. Multiple media outlets are now reporting that a crewmember aboard the same ship has been accused of raping a woman inside one of the ship’s cabins. The identity of the crewmember has not yet been released but authorities in Puerto Rico have allegedly detained the crewmember.

There are conflicting reports on whether the woman is a Carnival employee or whether she is a tourist/passenger. Her identity has also not been disclosed although a Carnival spokesperson has stated she is from Australia. The accused crewmember has not been formally charged by local authorities and it remains unknown whether this alleged rape has been reported to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, as required by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (“CVSSA”) legislation, a legislation that was designed to improve the security and safety aboard cruise ships.

Cruise lines are strictly liable for persons victimized by their crew members. There is generally no defense that the attack occurred without the cruise line being provided with an opportunity to prevent the attack from happening. Under strict liability, it is also generally no defense that the crew member had a clean background check and did not show a propensity for aggression.