A fisherman from Rio Hato, Panama, who survived for almost a month at sea despite being passed by a cruise ship halfway through his ordeal has hired a US attorney and is suing Princess Cruise Lines. He later watched his two companions die on their fishing boat adrift in the Pacific Ocean, and only survived himself because of a sudden rainstorm.
An investigation is continuing as to why the cruise vessel, the Star Princess, ignored the pleas of the desperate fishermen. The survivor, 18-year-old Adrian Vasquez, was later rescued near the Galapagos Islands after 28 days at sea, and it was left to him to recount what had happened – that after 16 days adrift he and his companions had tried to flag down a cruise ship but it had simply sailed past.
Princess Cruises alleges that even though three passengers on the Star had spotted the boat and told officers on the bridge, the captain had not been informed. The cruise line admitted a “breakdown in communication” and said that the captain, Edward Perrin, was “devastated that he is being accused of knowingly turning his back on people in distress.”
Nevertheless, Vasquez’s attorney, Edna Ramos, says the lawsuit alleging negligence by Princess Cruise Lines has now been filed in a Florida state court. The lawsuit includes testimony from two of the cruise ship passengers.
[pictured: Star Princess off coast of Split, Croatia; photo by Ivan T]