Rape and Violence On The High Seas

A woman hospitalised after alleged attack off Australian coast by officer at sea follows rape and death of South African seafarer Akhona Gerveza.

A recent attack on a female officer of the Australian coast, was so severe she was hospitalised for four days, Tradewinds reports, fueling a union campaign to end bullying at sea.

Ship master Liaquat Chaudry was arrested in Gove, Australia, following claims of an assault against second officer Deshakaru Lasanthi on the bridge of the Liberian flag of convenience ship  H Vogemann-controlled, 24,500-dwt bulker Lake Maja on October 30.

The attack comes on on the eve of United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women or White Ribbon Day, and only months after the tragic rape and death of South African seafarer Akhona Gerveza.

On November 25 the International Transport Workers' Federation is dedicating White RIbbon Day in honour of Akhona.

in the latest attack Lasanthi told the Sri Lankan Sunday Times she was alone on the bridge when the master came in complaining that she had not answered his VHF radio call.

“He grabbed me by the wrist, flung me to the floor and started punching me in the face and lower body, yelling that he would teach me a lesson,” she said.

Lasanthi rang an alarm and other crew came to the bridge, but hesitated to act against the master.

Corcoran says a personnel officer was sent to join the ship at Gove, Australia, immediately after it had been notified of the incident. 

The personnel manager found Lasanthi had heavy bruising and decided to send her to a private hospital in Colombo.

Tradewinds reports the master was arrested in Darwin. He faced court and was released on bail of $6,000 to return for a further hearing in March.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is now seeking compensation for Lasanthi. .

The attack comes two months after the death of cadet Akhona Gerveza, on  Safmarine Kariba after reporting  rape against a male officer.

Her lifeless body was found floating in the water off the coast of Croatia.  It is unknown whether someone pushed Akhona overboard or she committed suicide.

Unions are seeking a formal criminal investigation into the case to highlight instances of bullying against female officers at sea. 

The terrible ordeal is explained in two articles "Teen's Horror on the High Seas" and "Legal Tangle Over Teen's Death at Sea."  The newspaper mentions a number of incidents of sexual assault and harassment of crew members.

The articles explain that what makes the case of Ms. Geveza difficult to investigate is that the ship is registered in Britain, Ms. Geveza is South African, the vessel was in Croatian waters, and the officer who allegedly committed the crime is Ukrainian.