Maersk and Cadet Hope Hicks Resolve Lawsuit Over Rape Allegations
“It is important to me that my case has raised awareness of the issue of sexual assault and harassment at sea,” Hicks said in a statement Friday. “MLL management has expressed the need for change. The changes proposed by MLL are an important first step, but there is still a lot of work to be done in the maritime industry.
Both parties have agreed to keep the terms of the resolution confidential. They filed in New York Supreme Court on Monday, saying the case would be dropped.
US cadets sue shipping company, alleging rape and harassment at sea
Hicks’ story of being assaulted as a 19-year-old cadet reverberated through the tight-knit US shipping industry, prompting consideration of the vulnerability of female sailors. Officials with the US Department of Transportation, which oversees the academy, ended the Sea Year training program for the second time in six years and began an overhaul of safety rules.
Maersk said Friday it had launched an internal training and accountability program and was working with other companies, unions, the Department of Transportation and the Coast Guard.
“We want to be absolutely clear that the events described by Ms Hicks are unacceptable,” said William Woodhour, managing director of Maersk Line Ltd. “No matter who or where you are, those who work with us should feel safe and protected in our work environment.”
Tom Boyd, a company spokesman, said she had been approved to receive cadets again under the new federal standards and had been participating in the Sea Year program again since June.
At the same time Hicks filed her case, attorneys presented allegations from another cadet, who wished to remain anonymous as aspirant Y. She alleged that she had suffered sexual harassment and unwanted touching on the same ship as Hicks two years later.
The two sides are involved in private talks to resolve the matter, a lawyer for contender Y said, but she could return to court next month if no agreement is reached.