Maersk Line Ltd fires captain in sexual harassment case

US-based Maersk Line Ltd, a subsidiary of Denmark-based Maersk, is reported to have  dismissed Captain Mark Stinziano following an infringement case from 2015 (IMN May 6th 2022). He had been suspended for 12 months by an American court on April 20th, eight of which were suspended, as a result of a case of sexual harassment and assault committed when Stinziano was first mate on the Maersk Idaho (IMO 9193264). However, the captain was not convicted on the indictment and the decision was appealed by the US Coast Guard with demands for a harsher penalty. After the four-month suspension, Maersk Line Ltd has chosen to fire Stinziano.

After several infringement cases came to light Maersk launched a comprehensive investigation, in which 350 female employees on the shipping company’s ships were interviewed so that the shipping line could map the extent of the problem.

Stinziano had been accused of groping and abusing a deck cadet. According to the judge from the US Coast Guard Stinziano had groped and grabbed the cadet from behind, by simulating sex on two occasions, by threatening to hit the cadet in the groin, by drawing a penis on his helmet and by demanding , that the cadet called the chief mate “Big Daddy” and himself as “Buttercup”.

The judge said that the behaviour had been inappropriate, but in his eyes the behaviour was not an expression of sexual abuse or sexual assault. The judge instead defined it as “not in accordance with good order, discipline and safety at sea”. Maersk Line Ltd had previously investigated Stinziano after the cadet’s allegations of being abused. This led to the captain being recommended to take a training course.

Stinziano had denied all charges against him, but admitted during the trial that he had a “raw” sense of humour.

2000-built, USA-flagged, 50,698 gt Maersk Idaho was owned and managed by Maersk Line Ltd-USA of Norfolk, Virginia, USA. It was entered with Standard Club (International Division) but is now entered on behalf of AP Moller Singapore Pte (European Division). Maersk Idaho was previously known as Gosport Maersk.