A US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) student claimed in an explosive blog post that she was raped by her senior in 2019 on one of the ships of international shipping giant Maersk.

The woman did not mention her name in the post, but said that she is a current senior at the New York-based USMMA, which trains youngsters to become commissioned officers in the licensed Merchant Marine officers and the armed forces.

Last month, she wrote that she was the only woman on the ship during her Sea Year, which is a program when the academy's students work on commercial vessels. Recalling what happened, she said that one night engineers made her and a male cadet have shots of hard liquor, and that she woke up in her bed early the next morning without any clothes on.

She wrote, "There was blood on my sheets, and I knew immediately that I had been raped." Prior to the incident, she was a virgin and had been saving herself, and as soon as she woke up she could feel that she was sore.

She mentioned that her supervisor, who was a senior engineer in his 60s, had been sexually harassing her for weeks before that night. Due to the alcohol, she couldn't remember the actual rape, but she remembered that same man in her room, removing his clothes and forcing himself on her.

After she got up, he asked her to come to his room, saying that they needed to talk. According to her post, when she met him she accused him of raping her, but he denied it, saying that he had just helped her get back to her room and "Whatever you believed happened, you wouldn't tell the captain would you?"

Then he allegedly put his hand on her thigh, and when she decided to leave he told her people would not believe her, she wrote. She felt that toughing it out was the only option as no one was going to believe her, and that she felt trapped. She said that she had to continue to work for the man for the next 50 days.

She confided in her fellow cadets onboard about the incident, but she didn't officially report it back then. But after going back to campus and working as a victim's advocate, she got to know that at least nine other fellow female students had experienced something similar during their Sea Year. This made her share her story.

On Friday, Denmark-based Maersk issued a statement saying that its American subsidiary is working with the academy, the labor unions that represent the crew, officers and the American government, and that five of its crew members were suspended, according to CNN.

Bill Woodhour, CEO of Maersk Line Limited, the company's US subsidiary, said, "We do everything we can to ensure that all of our workplace environments, including vessels, are a safe and welcoming workplace and we've launched a top to bottom investigation."

The US Maritime Administration, which oversees USMMA, said that they don't tolerate sexual harassment and sexual assault at the academy as well as in the maritime industry.

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