MLL Settles With Female Cadets Raped, Assaulted Onboard Maersk Line Vessel
Fred Omotara With Agency Report
Maersk’s US subsidiary, Maersk Line Limited (MLL), has entered into a settlement with former ship cadet Hope Hicks and another female cadet (who chose to remain anonymous) over allegation that a rape and sexual assault took place on board one of Maersk vessel in 2019, the container carrier confirmed to ShippingWatch in a mail.
Neither Maersk nor Hicks’ legal representation will disclose any details of the settlement, nor if any compensation has been paid out as part of the agreement.
Speaking in a statement after the settlement was reached at the weekend, Hope Hicks stated that, “It is important to me that my case has brought greater awareness of the issue of sexual assault and harassment at sea. The leadership of MLL has expressed the need for change.
”The changes that MLL has proposed are an important first step, but there is still a lot of work to be done in the maritime industry.”
Also speaking after the settlement deal, Maersk Line Limited Chief Executive William Woodhour explained that, “No matter who and where you are, those who work with us must feel safe and protected in our work environment.”
As previously reported by ShippingWatch, Maersk has worked on closing the Hicks case for almost three months. This was confirmed by Maersk CEO Søren Skou on Nov. 2 during a press conference related to the third-quarter report.
Søren Skou had said then that, “It’s a terrible case, and we believe it took place.”
In August, ShippingWatch reported that Maersk and lawyers representing the two women were engaged in negotiations about a potential settlement.
Recall that former ship cadet Hope Hicks went public with her name and story, while the other plaintiff chose to remain anonymous. The pair sued Maerk’s US subsidiary Maersk Line Limited at New York court in June 2022.
The women accused Maersk for having failed to protect them and take responsibility when they were allegedly subjected to rape and sexual offences, respectively, aboard a Maersk vessel in 2019 and 2021.
The women furthermore claimed that Maersk had been made aware of problems with sexual harassment aboard the ship in 2016, without taking measures to prevent it.
Both cases were also raised with the US Coast Guard alongside a third incident where a ship’s cook received inappropriate messages from a captain in 2021.
At the end of August, Maersk asked the New York Supreme Court to halt proceedings concerning Hicks and the other women until Nov. 18.
The aim of this was to seek a settlement with the two alleged sexually assaulted women after mediation process with help from an independent third party.