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A shocking incident involving female cadets

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  #1  
Old 6th August 2010, 10:54
John Campbell's Avatar
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A shocking incident involving female cadets

I came across this article today in www.shiptalk.com re the sad death of a female cadet. I trust this is a one-off but I fear the worst -I never heard of such goings on when I was at sea.

Human Game
South African police are investigating the death of 19-year-old Akhona Geveza after the cadet fell overboard and died only hours after making rape allegations last month.

It was claimed she had told a fellow cadet and the ship’s master she had been raped by the Ukrainian Chief Officer of the “Safmarine Kariba”. Her body was found floating off the Croatian coast, she had just two weeks to go to finish her apprenticeship.

The incident has rightly caused real shock, especially as other cadets have alleged a pattern of abuse by senior officers on board the vessel.

Geveza, was a cadet in the Transnet National Port Authority's maritime studies programme, which has seen about a hundred young South African women encouraged to go to sea. Investigations are ongoing into the troubled study initiative, as something seems to have gone horribly wrong.

Many Cadets have emerged to claim systematic abuse by senior officers, "who threatened cadets' careers if they did not perform sexual acts”. There are allegations, including claims by both male and female cadets that they had been raped at sea; a female cadet had to terminate two pregnancies. Another male cadet was allegedly signed off because he refused to have sex with a senior officer.

A cadet told the reporters that her cohort of ten female cadets was told on board that “The captain is our god; he can marry you, baptise you and even bury you without anybody’s permission. We were told that the sea is no man’s land and that what happens at sea stays at sea.” While one former female Cadet claimed, “It was like we were dumped in the middle of a game park.”

While there are strong suggestions that sexual harassment may be rife in the Transnet cadet scheme Safmarine Africa region executive Jonathan Horn said this was an isolated incident. He claimed, “We are deeply saddened by the untimely death of Ms Geveza and while this is a most unfortunate incident, we believe it should not detract from the success of scores of young South Africans – men and women - who are now pursuing a career in the international maritime industry.”

Careers they may have, but at what cost?
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  #2  
Old 6th August 2010, 13:38
JoK JoK is offline  
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Oh, this is so ugly

A long time ago, I remember a cadet instructor, who, himself, went to sea at 14, telling a female cadet that ships could sail with her, no one would know the difference and she could be dumped at sea.
His purpose was to make her understand how easily things happen and a wake up call to reality.
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Last edited by JoK; 6th August 2010 at 13:41..
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  #3  
Old 6th August 2010, 14:10
Klaatu83 Klaatu83 is offline  
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Apparently "Safmarine" is something of a misnomer.

I'm sure we've all heard sea-stories about brutal incidents on board flag of convenience ships, involving stowaways disappearing overboard. However, It is truly shocking to learn that such brutality also extends towards the cadets. It is even more shocking that the numerous cadets should have repeatedly lodged complaints with the agency that assigned them to the ships, and that the complaints should have clearly been ignored.
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Old 6th August 2010, 16:57
mrcanoehead mrcanoehead is offline  
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these stories are indeed wake up calls, wage disputs are nothing compared to violent abuse of this nature, shamefull.
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Old 6th August 2010, 17:07
sparkie2182 sparkie2182 is online now  
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A full and independant investigation is called for.
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Old 6th August 2010, 17:38
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Proof perhaps that the concept of international standards of competence hide the fact that more VERY 'undesirable' people now work at sea in senior capacities than ever before. This is indeed a very shocking case and it affects not just the flag state but the whole shipping community. Just how do we insure that such people never ever agin set foot on a ship let alone work with such a potentially vulnerable group! While an extremely horrifying case I myself have heard of Male cadets complaining of some pretty bad treatment by senior ranks of dubious origin.
This is also very bad news for anyone young thinking of going to sea! It is also very bad news for all those who have worked so hard to improve the image of working on ships and encouraged young women into the industry. In my experience having a mixed ships company is far far better than the old way and I am very saddened to hear this devastating news. Perhaps any investigation should look closely at the structure of the company management. Many companies now seem to be increasingly isolated from what is really happening on their own ships. Thank goodness that this is not always the case and that we can expect an increasing number of women to have long happy and successful seagoing careers.

Last edited by Nick Balls; 6th August 2010 at 17:51..
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Old 6th August 2010, 17:44
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Originally Posted by sparkie2182 View Post
A full and independant investigation is called for.
Right on, from the bottom up,and I mean to the top even the company head.

John.
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  #8  
Old 6th August 2010, 18:51
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are they Bone fie officers in the first place or have the paid some Liberian his bung for his papers who knows?but most definitely needs a full enquiry.john
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Old 6th August 2010, 21:15
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To get some results, Witnesses will have to come forward, Just like the ones in child abuse cases that came to light years later, It will take a lot of courage to come forward because of the status the victims have achieved since the alledged assault took place, But come forward they must, So this evil practice can be stopped and the people responsible brought to book .'cueball44.
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Old 6th August 2010, 21:30
Billieboy Billieboy is offline  
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Disgusting!

These seamen(?) should be hung drawn and quartered, preferably sooner than later and before the Sun gets up!
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  #11  
Old 6th August 2010, 21:37
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Originally Posted by JOHN PRUDEN View Post
are they Bone fie officers in the first place or have the paid some Liberian his bung for his papers who knows?but most definitely needs a full enquiry.john
Here is the latest news I have found re this incident

Safe Seas
has this article

Sea cadet death probe raises jurisdiction concerns


Nautilus calls for detailed investigation into death of cadet who was lost overboard from a UK Flagged Safmarine boxship

Steve Matthews | LLOYD’S LIST

THERE are increasing concerns about investigations into the suspicious death of 19-year-old South African officer cadet Akhona Geveza who was lost overboard from the UK-flagged Safmarine containership Safmarine Kariba on June 24 while the ship was in Croatian waters near Rijeka.

This case once again throws the spotlight on how to ensure the proper investigation of serious crimes onboard ships at sea where various legal jurisdictions are potentially involved.

Officers’ trade union Nautilus International general secretary Mark Dickinson has written to UK secretary of state for transport Phillip Hammond, urging that a proper investigation is undertaken regarding the circumstances surrounding her death.

Ms Geveza was onboard the Safmarine ship as part of an arrangement with South African harbour authority Transnet to provide seagoing opportunities for Transnet cadets. Transnet specifically encourages the recruitment of young South African women as officer trainees.

In particular there are concerns that she had previously made allegations that she was raped by the ship’s Ukrainian chief officer. It has been claimed that other South African cadets have made similar allegations. Safmarine told Lloyd’s List that it “has not received any complaints of sexual harassment taking place onboard its vessels”.

In his letter Mr Dickinson says: “We believe it is particularly important that the UK, as flag state, takes a highly visible leading role in seeking to establish the truth of the allegations and – if true – to ensure that appropriate action is taken.”

It calls on the Department for Transport to do everything possible to secure a full and transparent investigation.

Mr Dickinson has also written to UK Home Secretary Theresa May expressing concern at the lack of information about any criminal enquiries into the allegations. He says it is unclear whether investigations are being carried out by the South African police, the Croatian police, or the British police. An added complication is that the Ukrainian chief officer left the vessel in Port Said, Egypt.

A spokeswoman for Safmarine told Lloyd’s List that investigations into the death are still underway. She said that Safmarine was co-operating with authorities investigating the matter, which include the Croatian police, South African Maritime Safety Authority and the UK Marine Accident and Investigation Branch.

However, Lloyd’s List understands that the MAIB is not actively investigating the incident as it normally defers to any ongoing police investigation, which in this case appears to be in the hands of the Croatian police.

A DfT spokesperson said to Lloyd’s List: “This is a tragic incident and we extend our sympathies to the family of Ms Geveza. This is now the subject of a criminal investigation and we are happy to assist if asked. However, it is not for the DfT to intervene in a police enquiry.”

Lloyd’s List contacted the Croatian police but at the time of going to press they were unable to give any information on the status or progress of the investigation.

A spokesman for the UK Home Office said to Lloyd’s List that British police involvement in such international investigations usually follows a mutual legal assistance request from authorities in other countries, but the Home Office does not confirm or deny whether such requests have been made in individual cases. Lloyd’s List understands that British police are not currently conducting an investigation into this incident.

This uncertainty about how the death is being investigated highlights fears that the various jurisdictions involved could end up with an inadequate investigation taking place into an extremely serious criminal offence.

Nautilus is concerned that the case has important implications for the international maritime industry and especially ensuring equal opportunities as the industry seeks to attract more women seafarers. “There must be no whitewash and no cover-up,” Mr Dickinson said.

The union has tabled a motion, in co-operation with the South African Transport Workers Union, at this week’s International Transport Workers Federation Congress in Mexico City. It expresses concern that “these allegations could damage irreparably the image of shipping as a career choice for young people and especially among young women”.

It calls on the ITF to ensure that Ms Geveza’s family receive justice with a full and open investigation and action concerning all allegations of abuse by Transnet cadets and that any conclusions are implemented quickly. The ITF should “send a message to the shipping industry that the worldwide maritime trade union family will not tolerate this kind of treatment of any seafarer on any ship and redouble its efforts to support the eradication of harassment and bullying at sea and the promotion of mutual respect and equal opportunities in shipping”.
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Old 6th August 2010, 21:56
muldonaich muldonaich is offline  
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if this ship is flying the red duster then it should be crewed by british nationals.
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Old 6th August 2010, 22:12
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UK flagged vessels are not required to have British nationals .....not even the Master. All that is required is a UK Ticket. 'Certificates of Equivalence ' of any STCW country can be converted to British ones. While most of these qualifications are OK and withstand scrutiny it is also very clear that in a lot of cases the system has failed ! There are plenty of people out there with a very dubious history. A Total disgrace in fact!
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Old 6th August 2010, 22:13
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thank you john.
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Old 6th August 2010, 22:37
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The abuse of female personnel by senior officers, or those placed in authority over them, is by no means restricted to this particular company or to the Merchant Marine in general.
Since women were encouraged and enabled to become part of what had traditionally been seen as the domain of the male exclusively (Armed forces, Police, Fire Service, MN etc.) this type of thing has become commonplace.

There will always be the sexual predators, bullies and psychos waiting to take the opportunity to impose their dominance over those they perceive to be weaker. It has always been that way and human nature being what it is it will always be so, as you simply can't legislate against or prevent it!

We have all seen it, those of us with military of emergency service/MN backgrounds and we do not in any way condone this sort of thing.
I am of the opinion that the ways to stop it is for really harsh reprisals, (given any case can be proved) and for a change in male attitudes, which not only agrees with the integration of women into those organisations mentioned, but displays a publically declared active support for them and is also supported by our membership as well.

The white male system is still alive and well (more's the pity) and the sooner we accept women for what they are, as equals; stamp out chauvinism and move on, the better it will be. Yes, I do admit to liking and respecting women, a lot, which is why I get a bit bothered when I hear of this type of thing!

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Old 6th August 2010, 22:42
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i have seen a few soviet women officers on ships . iwould not like to cross them no way.john
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Old 6th August 2010, 22:59
John N MacDonald John N MacDonald is offline  
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I agree that there is no place for bullying in any walk of life but it still exists! I was under the impression that if a ship flew the UK ensign she was considered to be UK soil!
I agree with Muldonaich about ships with the Red Ensign flying being crewed by UK or Commonwealth nationals.
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Old 6th August 2010, 23:40
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Right on, from the bottom up,and I mean to the top even the company head.

John.
John, Regarless of flag or nationality, what is required is a full top-down investigation carried out by competent independent individuals reporting to authorities outside the organisation. This may require a full inquiry of the entire shore and ship management organisations with the power to initiate criminal enquiries if necessary. Where unaccepable practices are found to exist onboard, the invididuals involved, including their responsible shore managers should not only be prosecuted but also have their certificates cancelled. If this is an operational culture then it needs to be changed by whatever means possible and the perpetrators prosecuted. What action and what involvement has the DPA initiated? I would hope that any company, regardless of flag, condoning such practices on their vessels suffer the commercial consequences of being "blacked" by their major charterers. These type of practices would be unaccepable for tanker operators and any company not demonstrating effective measures to control such behaviour would find their entire fleet blacked for any business. This is the only effective way to control such unacceptable behaviour. If SAF Marine are found to be in anyway complacent in respect to full investigation of this incident and effective corrective actions, then they deserve to suffer the appropriate commercial consequencies. Chris Allport
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Old 7th August 2010, 00:19
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The white male system is still alive and well (more's the pity) and the sooner we accept women for what they are, as equals; stamp out chauvinism and move on, the better it will be.
30 years I have been the industry, albeit a small corner of it and I am disgusted that this sort of stuff still goes on.

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The ITF should “send a message to the shipping industry that the worldwide maritime trade union family will not tolerate this kind of treatment of any seafarer on any ship and redouble its efforts to support the eradication of harassment and bullying at sea and the promotion of mutual respect and equal opportunities in shipping”.
The Canadian MOSH (Marine Occupational Health and Safety) that recently entered into effect, has specific mention of violence at sea. There must be a company policy in place regarding violence and bullying, it must be investigated and it has to be reported to Transport Canada's safety and security.
These woman must have been terrorized, I would imagine that the company had no reports. The woman would have been made to feel like they invited it and got what they "deserved".
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Last edited by JoK; 7th August 2010 at 00:21.. Reason: spelling
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Old 7th August 2010, 00:24
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i am sure if they sailed into a port were unions were strong and port authorities new what way going on they would be hounded off the seas and go bust overnight.john
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Old 7th August 2010, 00:26
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That proves you are a decent sort and have no idea of how woman are abused and manipulated, and obviously the young men.
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Old 7th August 2010, 00:33
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That proves you are a decent sort and have no idea of how woman are abused and manipulated, and obviously the young men.
jok i have been abused and manipulated by a lady for the past 35 years{THE WIFE}
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Old 7th August 2010, 01:22
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There wont be any serious investigation, I think thats obvious, it will be covered up, thats what happens, the black & white thing in South Africa has not died but still lives where it can.
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Old 7th August 2010, 01:56
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I am appalled that such an incident would have occurred. I was always taught safety of the crew, ship and last was the cargo.

I have been on several ships that had female's onboard from Cadets, AB's, wiper, Chief Mates and engineers. While some of the crew and officers would try to create a hostile work environment it is up to the senior officers not to tolerate it.
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Old 7th August 2010, 03:44
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jok i have been abused and manipulated by a lady for the past 35 years{THE WIFE}
The significant difference John, is that you enjoyed it.
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