Cadet Sues Major Shipping Company, Alleging Sexual Assault

A cadet associated with the US Merchant Marine Academy has identified herself publicly as “Midshipman X,” a sexual assault survivor who had been attacked during a training cruise in 2019 aboard the commercial vessel named Alliance Fairfax.

Midshipman Hope Hicks, a senior at the NY-based federal maritime academy, has reportedly filed a civil lawsuit in New York against Maersk, the shipping major that operated the Alliance Fairfax at the time of the attack.

The USMMA is a well-known federal service academy such as West Point, focusing on providing the civilian US merchant fleet with mariner officers.

Maersk Assault
Representation Image

Midshipman Hicks was 19 when she was on board the Alliance Fairfax as part of the “Sea Year” training. In the complaint, she alleges that an engineering officer had raped her after he had plied her with alcohol and encouraged her to drink heavily, as per CNN.

Last year, she had written an open letter that described her ordeal with the pseudonym “Midshipman X” and said that she was aware of other cases of such assaults that involved USMMA midshipmen. The letter prompted Pete Buttigieg, the US Secretary of Transportation, to suspend the academy’s Sea Year Program temporarily.

CNN reported that AP Moller-Maersk, the shipping major, initiated an investigation and suspended five US-based merchant mariners who had served on the vessel at the time.

Palle Laursen, a company official informed a Danish news outlet that the incident has been described is contrary to ordinary decency but in particular to values and what Maersk stands for.

Reference: Anchorage Daily News

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