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The Dark Side of Cruises: Assaults on Cruise Lines

On Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2014, a cruise ship passenger aboard Holland America’s MS Nieuw was savagely strangled, beat, and sexually assaulted by a cruise ship worker. The 31 year old victim was cruising on a weeklong trip out of Fort Lauderdale. The incident began when the worker, 28 year old Ketut Pujayasa, attempted to deliver breakfast to the victim and she allegedly stated, “[w]ait a minute, son of a bitch.”

Pujayasa stewed angrily over the comment for a few hours then planned his revenge. While off-duty, he used a master key to get into the woman’s stateroom. He hid on the balcony and fell asleep. He awoke when the woman returned, and mounted his attack. Pujayasa smashed a laptop and a curling iron against her and beat her. He then used the curling iron cord and phone cord to choke the woman. Throughout the horrifying ordeal, the woman fought for her life, biting her attacker, trying to stab him with a corkscrew, kicking him repeatedly, and attempting to scream for help.

Pujayasa admitted to the FBI that his intent was to kill the woman and dispose of her body overboard. Fortunately, another passenger knocked on the door and spooked the attacker. Pujayasa fled through the balcony, jumping between balconies until finding an open one and fleeing inside. The victim ran for help.

The MS Nieuw cruise ship docked in Honduras on Valentine’s Day and the severely injured woman was flown to a South Florida hospital. Cruise security detained Pujayasa until the ship docked at Port Everglades, where Pujayasa was booked for attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault at a Broward County jail.

Our Miami cruise ship injury lawyers found that Pujayasa’s horrific attack highlights an alarming problem aboard ships at sea. FBI statistics show that over 150 individuals were sexually assaults on cruise ships in a three year time span, several of which were committed by crew members. People go on cruise vacations with their loved ones or alone to have a great, enjoyable, relaxing and safe vacation. No one should have to be concerned for their safety or the safety of a loved one on a cruise ship. The cruise lines must take more care in hiring and evaluating crew. After all, the crew has access to cabins, public and private areas and personal information about passengers. We at Greenberg Stone & Urbano are appalled by actions such as this and will fight for cruise passengers rights for injuries, assaults or deaths at sea.

Cruise ships can be held legally responsible for assaults or attacks on passengers. The test is whether the cruise ship employees and management knew or should have known the assault or attack was likely to occur. For instance, if a cruise ship employee assaults a passenger and it is later uncovered the person had a prior criminal conviction for rape which the cruise line failed to uncover, the cruise line can be liable for the victim’s injuries. Further, the cruise line can be liable for failing to install security features reasonably necessary to prevent an attack. Finally, the cruise ship can even be held accountable for assaults between passengers if the cruise ship received a report of earlier violence between the passengers and failed to take action to prevent further violence.

IMPORTANT TIP: In each and every case our office handles we make it a practice to go over each and every complaint our client has from the top of their head to the bottom of their feet. We do this because patients fail to tell their physician all of their complaints, thinking that what they are feeling is not related to the injuries received in their case. We are not doctors but we explain to the client to let the doctor know because he/she may feel that there is a relation. For example, a person complaining of lower back pain may not tell their doctor that they are having tingling or numbness in their leg. By telling the doctor this, they can examine the patient and determine the cause of the complaint.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Miami Cruise Ship Accident Superlawyers

If you or a loved one is injured on a cruise ship, whether through an accident, due to an illness, or assault, contact the preeminent law office of Greenberg Stone and Urbano today. For over 120 collective years, we have fought for the recovery cruise ship accident victims and their families. Our commitment to zealous representation has earned an “AV” rating from Martindale Hubbell, and it is why we have been asked to join Primerus, an international society of leading law firms. Moreover, the Miami Herald voted us as one of the top-rated South Florida law firm, and, we have earned the title of “Superlawyers,” designating us as being among the best lawyers in America. We want to put this dedication to work for you, so call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400, or visit our website to schedule an initial consultation.

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