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Cruise Lines In The Dock As Teenage Girl Seeks Legal Justice For Outraged Modesty
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A pleasure trip on Carnival Cruise Lines, turned to a horror trip for an 18 year old teenage girl, identified as “J.G.” to protect her identity. She had sailed on the carnival sensation with her family last April. The nightmare began, after the liner docked in Nassau, Bahamas, when the security guards detained her on suspicion of being in possession of marijuana.

The teenage girl has sued Carnival Cruise Lines and three of its employees, saying that during her ordeal she “was interrogated, strip searched and forced to urinate under the employees’ observation.” According to the complaint, the agents “threatened, coerced and required her to remove her panties, lift her dress to her waist and expose her nakedness to all agents in the cabin.”

She further states in her complaint that she was asked to remove a tampon, forced to urinate in front of the employees and that she was subjected to a genital cavity search, before being booked and escorted off the ship.

  
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The suit further alleges that her litany of woes did not end there, but that she was placed in a cell meant for adults and ‘subsequently assaulted.’

The cruise line forcefully rejected the teenager’s claim and its spokesman Vance Gulliksen said, “Carnival does not typically comment on pending litigation but feels compelled to do so given the far-fetched claims made in this lawsuit. The claim that the plaintiff was strip searched is patently false and obviously made in retaliation for the cruise line having disembarked the plaintiff and her mother part-way through the voyage in Nassau where the plaintiff was taken into custody by the Bahamian police.”

For the moment it is unclear how much of the allegations are true, but the case has helped highlight the nature of jurisdiction and the rights of passengers when at sea.

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Legal experts in the US opine that the passengers are protected by US laws, but are also subject to international maritime laws and the legally-binding stipulations of their passenger tickets. Miami-based maritime attorney Michael Winkleman of Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, said  “When you go on a cruise ship, you are in the territory of the flag of the country the ship is registered in,” “But where you have a possible criminal case, different types of intervening jurisdictions can apply — the Coast Guard, the FBI — although the only real authority on the ship is the cruise line itself.”

The Carnival contract clearly states, “All Guests agree Carnival has, at all times with or without notice, the right to enter and search Guest’s stateroom, personal safe or storage spaces, or to search or screen any Guest, and/or personal effects, at any location, to ensure compliance with any of the restrictions set forth in this agreement.”



Even though the liner authorities were within their rights to subject the girl to a search, the question is, did they cross the line? Maritime lawyer Jim Walker of Walker & O’Neill in Miami said, “The short answer is that, irrespective of the law of the flag, cruise lines have a responsibility to treat passengers reasonably. My view is that it’s unreasonable to subject a minor to any of the conduct that’s alleged in this incident.”

The three employees against whom the suit has been filed are Mayank Thapa, a security agent; Redentor Yuzon, an assistant housekeeping manager, and a female employee names Leticia. An inability on their part to understand America’s law and the rights of its citizens and a penchant to act according to their own values and beliefs is perchance the reason why such gross incidents occur.



 

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