Investigations into Sexual Assaults at Cadet Sea Year Programs

We are representing two brave female U.S. Merchant Marine (USMMA) students in their lawsuits against cargo ship owner-operator Maersk Line for failing to protect them from sexual assault and harassment during the cadets’ “Sea Year” program aboard the Maersk M/V Alliance Fairfax.

Hope Hicks was raped by a superior officer, and the female cadet who goes by the moniker “Midshipman Y” suffered continuous sexual harassment from a Maersk crew member. Along with Hope and Midshipman Y, we are committed to bringing about systematic change to maritime training programs like Sea Year and to ending sexual assault and sexual abuse in the maritime industry.

After Hope shared her story with a national audience, other victims came forward with their own stories of sexual assault and harassment during their time as cadets aboard commercial cargo ships. If you were sexually assaulted or harassed as a cadet in a Sea Year program or if you have information about sexual assault and/or sexual harassment in a maritime training program, please fill out our online form or contact Sanford Heisler Sharp’s team of dedicated attorneys and staff at MaritimeSurvivors@sanfordheisler.com.

Sanford Heisler Sharp, led by Partner Christine Dunn, is joining with Ryan Melogy of Maritime Legal Solutions, PLLC to investigate the full extent of the problem and to hold accountable the individuals, institutions and shipping companies that have enabled perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment to continue unabated. Ryan Melogy, a graduate of the USMMA and experienced lawyer, understands the maritime industry first-hand and has dedicated his professional life to ending sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other abusive behaviors within the maritime industry. Sanford Heisler Sharp is a nationally recognized civil rights firm that has handled many cases involving classes of women and individuals who were sexually harassed and/or sexually assaulted.

Questionnaire for Current and Former Participants of Maritime Cadet Programs 

We understand that many of you endured extremely difficult and traumatizing situations during your Sea Year or other maritime cadet program voyages, and that recounting those experiences below can be triggering. Please provide as much information to as many of the questions below as you recall and feel comfortable sharing. Any information is helpful to us, and all information will remain strictly confidential. If any question is not applicable to your situation, please write N/A in the box provided. If you would prefer to speak with someone about your experiences, please call us at 202-499-5200 and identify yourself as a current or former Maritime Cadet.

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  • Have you ever attended a maritime academy/college?

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    • Name of school attended

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  • Did you participate in a cadet sea year program?

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  • What was the name of the ship you were on?

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  • Were you sexually assaulted and/or harassed while participating in a cadet sea year program?

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    • Approx. date(s) of incident(s):

    • Did you report this to anyone?

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  • Do you have information about someone who was sexually assaulted and/or harassed while participating in a cadet sea year program or on a commercial ship?

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  • If you would like to relay any additional information about your experience or the experiences of others on a commercial ship, please share this information in the space below:

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