The Maersk Line Ltd captain slapped with a short suspension for “hazing” a cadet has been let go by the shipping giant’s US arm.
Mark Stinziano, who was accused of groping and abusing a US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) deck cadet while serving as chief mate aboard the 4,658-teu Maersk Idaho (built 2000), has had his employment terminated earlier this month.
Maersk Line Ltd said the findings of a US Coast Guard administrative law judge in April ran contrary to statements Stinziano made during the company's initial investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations in 2015.
“Sexual harassment, sexism or any form of discrimination has no part in our culture or our values at Maersk,” the company said in a statement.
“We are committed to [continuing] our collaboration with subject matter experts in the field of anti-sexual assault/sexual harassment (SASH), as well as with other industry participants and advocates, labour unions and government partners, to improve SASH and alcohol policies and practices, and to work towards industry-wide changes to the culture of the maritime trade, ensuring that the shipboard environment is safe, supportive and welcoming to all.
“As communicated to the entire Maersk and [Maersk Line Ltd] fleet, we will not tolerate any breach of our policies regarding the fair treatment of all personnel.”
On 20 April, Coast Guard administrative law judge Michael Devine said Stinziano hazed a cadet when he groped the cadet and grabbed the cadet from behind and simulated sex among other instances of sexual misconduct.
Devine argued those actions were done without malice but were ultimately inappropriate.
The Coast Guard prosecuted the case — which was not a criminal case and subject to a preponderance of evidence standard — and sought to have Stinziano’s captain’s license revoked, but Devine instead sentenced Stinziano to a four-month suspension and another eight suspended on probation.
The agency has since appealed the decision, arguing Devine’s conclusions were not supported by evidence and law and that he abused his discretion.
Stinziano’s attorney, William Hewig said that he has since filed a reply brief arguing that the decision was correct.
Hewig declined to comment on the termination as it is subject to grievance procedures under the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots union contract, of which Stinziano is a member.
The union did not return a request for comment.
Both Maersk Line Ltd and the USMMA has been rocked by sexual misconduct allegations in the last year.
In addition to Stinziano’s case, Hope Hicks, also known as Midshipman X, went public with an account of her rape aboard one of its ships while a student at the USMMA on the Maritime Legal Aid & Advocacy website.
Hicks has since filed suit in New York state court against Maersk Line Ltd, as has a classmate known as Midshipman Y.