Thursday, 20 February 2014

Crew member arrested for assault on HAL ship

Crew member arrested for assault on HAL ship

By Tom Stieghorst

A 28-year-old crew member on Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam ship has been arrested following an assault on a passenger in her cabin last week.

The crew member was taken into custody by the FBI when the ship docked in Fort Lauderdale at the end of a chartered cruise on Feb. 16.

He has been charged with attempted murder and sexual assault, according to South Florida media reports. Court records say the Indonesian man confessed to the attack, and told investigators that he was responding to a perceived insult to himself and his family.

Holland America has fired him.

“No words can adequately express our shock at this event,” Holland America said in a statement. "We continue to work closely with authorities to understand how this incident occurred and what additional actions we can take to help ensure that nothing like this ever happens again."

The 31-year-old U.S. citizen was cared for and her condition was stabilized in the ship’s hospital, the statement said. She disembarked the ship on Saturday in Roatan, Honduras, and was transferred by air to a hospital in the U.S.

Nieuw Amsterdam left Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 9 for a week-long western Caribbean cruise. It had been chartered by Bare Necessities Tour & Travel, in Austin, Texas, which specializes in clothing-optional vacations.

Holland America Line said the cabin steward was hired in 2012 following a screening that included a clean criminal history check.

He had no performance issues and came with good references, the statement said.

The line reiterated that it asks for a police screening of nearly all shipboard employees in their country of origin, and that virtually all crew members must get a U.S. visa and be screened by the U.S. government prior to employment.