Sole Survivor From Stranded Fishing Boat Sues Princess Cruises For Failing To Help

The sole survivor of a fishing boat set adrift for 28 days is suing Princess Cruise Lines, claiming that even though passengers on the ship alerted the crew to the vessel in need of help, the Star Princess simply passed on by.

The Associated Press (via The Guardian) says the 18-year-old Panamanian man is alleging negligence by Princess Cruise Lines in the lawsuit, which was filed in Florida state court.

He and his two companions set off from Rio Hata, off Panama’s coast on Feb. 24. After the motor broke down, the men were set adrift for 16 days.

That’s when they say they signaled the passing cruise ship. And while passengers onboard say they reported seeing the drifting boat and the men waving for help, Princess Cruises has said that wasn’t the case. One passenger even tried to alert authorities after the ship had docked and she had returned home.

Two of the men died a day later, and the sole survivor was rescued on March 22 near the Galapagos Islands, more than 600 miles from where he and his boatmates set out from.

When the story first broke, Princess issued a statement, saying: “We’re aware of the allegations that Star Princess supposedly passed by a boat in distress that was carrying three Panamanian fishermen on March 10. At this time we cannot verify the facts as reported, and we are currently conducting an internal investigation on the matter.”

Fisherman sues cruise line after ship failed to rescue him [The Guardian]

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  1. Blueskylaw says:

    “Sole Survivor From Stranded Fishing Boat Sues Princess Cruises For Failing To Help”

    Princess Cruises countersues with a claim of cowardice for not going down with his ship like a gentleman while wearing his tuxedo and smoking a cigar.

  2. homehome says:

    Is there something in the crewman’s guidelines that say they have to help?

    • wackydan says:

      Obviously there is something motivational about impact to revenue and interrupting passenger’s vacations that was the key component to why they did not help. A company cultural thing if you will… The captain, if he had done the right thing would have faced penalties from his employer for screwing up the scheduled port of call and pissing off passengers.

      • TuxMan says:

        Ocean going vessels should have a radio. It may even be a requirement. If the Princess didn’t get a radio transmission from the Coast Guard or from the boat in distress they can’t be at fault.

      • smarmyjones goes cattywampus says:

        IMO I don’t think revenue had anything to do with it. A radio call to the Coast Guard would have sufficed in this situation, but from all accounts they didn’t even do that much.

        • IphtashuFitz says:

          This happened in international waters near the Galapagos Islands. As far as I know the Coast Guard doesn’t patrol that neck of the woods.

          • Emperor Norton I says:

            It doesn’t have to be the US Coast Guard.
            Panama has boats to protect its coast & the canal.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        I actually thought it was for pirate reasons. You know, the old “help we’re adrift!” gag, then boom “reach for the sky suckers!” Then again it was only 3 guys, perhaps the captain assumed they had a huge backup ship full of pirates lurking behind…that wave over there in the middle of the open ocean.

    • AtlantaCPA says:

      IANA(maritime)L – but it seems to me like a case of manslaughter when you pass someone bleeding to death on the sidewalk and don’t help them. In this country you have a duty to help (at least to call 911 or face manslaughter charges).

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        I think this falls under accepted maritime law which one would ASSume a captain of a corporate owned vessel would be aware of.

      • jrs45 says:

        Untrue. People (civilians) have no duty to rescue in the USA, and you will not get charged with manslaughter for not helping.

        (Unsure what maritime issues may exist.)

        • EarlNowak says:

          The master of a US flagged ship absolutely has a duty to rescue, if it can be done safely.

          http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/46/2304

          “A master or individual in charge of a vessel shall render assistance to any individual found at sea in danger of being lost, so far as the master or individual in charge can do so without serious danger to the master’s or individual’s vessel or individuals on board.”

          • Bsamm09 says:

            That does not mean they have to rescue. It does mean they have to call the authorities so they can be rescued. I doubt a cruise ship can actually rescue a person on a fishing boat. They could and should call whoever can do this a give them the boats coordinates and hopefully an accurate idea of current/direction boat is drifting.

            If they could get close enough, try to throw food and water near the boat so hopefully it could float to the man or get in casting distance as I’m sure he had a fishing rod.

            • RandomLetters says:

              A cruise ship does have the ability to rescue someone stranded at sea. They have small boats called launches. They have those for mulitple uses but one use is to rescue passengers that might fall overboard. As such it could have been used to rescue three standed fisherman.

              • Bsamm09 says:

                I didn’t know that. I have never been on a cruise ship and didn’t know they could safely deploy and retrieve smaller boats while underway. Thanks.

                • kjherron says:

                  Well, they’d have to stop, but they can absolutely do it. How do you think cruise ships deal with “man overboard” situations?

                  The fact is that cruise ships rescue stranded boaters on a pretty regular basis. This wasn’t a soulless corporation ignoring someone in need. This was a big screwup and the captain is probably sick over it.

        • AtlantaCPA says:

          Good to know. I’m heartened to find out that such a law actually does exist on the open ocean from other posters. Sad to find out that it doesn’t exist on land. I was thinking about some manslaughter cases I’d heard about recently but I guess they were all people who failed to help and had some relation to the person dying, not total strangers. Now I’m just that much more cynical.

        • history_theatrestudent says:

          Actually depends on your status. Certain levels of medical training obligate you to render aid. Also if the individual is a minor, the authorities can get creative and charge an individual with endangerment of a minor. This last example is again particularly true for licensed individuals, both medical and those whose licenses are specifically related to working with youth (i.e. educators).

          • MrEvil says:

            My internal moral compass says at LEAST call 911 for an ambulance for the guy. I have no first aid or CPR training so that’s all I can do. But seriously it’d be a royal dick move to not even pick up my cell phone to dial 911.

    • Anathema777 says:

      International maritime law requires able vessels to assist those distressed at sea.

      • McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

        This. I bet if it’s shown that passengers alerted them they will end up having some liability.

    • EarlNowak says:

      International maritime law requires it. All sailors have a duty to rescue if they can safely render aid. Per the 1974 SOLAS convention:
      “The master of a ship at sea which is in a position to be able to provide assistance, on receiving a signal from any source that persons are in distress at sea, is bound to proceed with all speed to their assistance, if possible informing them or the search and rescue service that the ship is doing so.”

      The 1979 SAR convention requires a ship’s master to:
      “…ensure that assistance be provided to any person in distress at sea… regardless of the nationality or status of such a person or the circumstances in which that person is found”… and to “provide for their initial medical or other needs , and deliver them to a place of safety.”

      2006 amendments to both conventions read as follows:
      “This obligation to provide assistance applies regardless of the nationality or status of such persons or the circumstances in which they are found.”

      Further, the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea requires all signatory countries to provide under it’s own law:
      “Every State shall require the master of a ship flying its flag, in so far as he can do so without serious danger to the ship, the crew, or the passengers: (a) to render assistance to any person found at sea in danger of being lost; (b) to proceed with all possible speed to the rescue of persons in distress, if informed of their need of assistance, in so far as such action may reasonably be expected of him . . . “

      Which is the source for the following law applicable to US flagged vessels.
      http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/46/2304

      “A master or individual in charge of a vessel shall render assistance to any individual found at sea in danger of being lost, so far as the master or individual in charge can do so without serious danger to the master’s or individual’s vessel or individuals on board.”

      • homehome says:

        damn, didn’t know that. I would’ve still brought a radio though.

      • FatLynn says:

        Okay, so if there is one thing I’ve learned from internet memes, it’s that very big ships sometimes honestly don’t see small ships that are near them. I suppose the facts at issue, then, are whether or not the crew was aware of the fishing vessel?

        http://www.amazon.com/Avoid-Huge-Ships-John-Trimmer/dp/0870334336

        Also, is there an argument to be made that Princess would have endangered its own passengers/crew? I honestly know nothing about the topic.

        • history_theatrestudent says:

          If I recall, they knew it was there. A passenger saw them (it was a bird watching voyage) and reported it to a crew member. At that point once it enter the chain of command/information, the company became legally liable to render aid.

          • iesika says:

            Yay! I read about this after it happened and was really, really hoping the guy would find a good maritime lawyer.

            I’m still holding out faint hope of criminal charges, but I’ll be reasonably happy if this man (and the families of the men who died) get enough out of this never to have to go to sea again.

        • The Porkchop Express says:

          even if they would have endangered the passengers, they needed to contact coast guard or whoever to report the location.

      • El_Fez says:

        On the other hand, you could just sum all that up with “Be a fucking human”.

    • kelcema says:

      I’ve got a few paragraphs in my internal moral code that would obligate me to stop and help…

    • kjherron says:

      Yes, under maritime law, the ship had a duty to stop and render aid.

    • webweazel says:

      International maritime laws. SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) Regulation 33: Distress messages: obligations and procedures:

      “The master of a ship at sea which is in a position to be able to provide assistance,on receiving a
      signal from any source that persons are in distress at sea, is bound to proceed with all speed to their assistance, if possible informing them or the search and rescue service that the ship is doing so. If the ship receiving the distress alert is unable or, in the special circumstances of the case, considers it unreasonable or unnecessary to proceed to their assistance, the master must enter in the log-book the reason for failing to proceed to the assistance of the persons in distress, taking into account the recommendation of the Organization to inform the appropriate search and rescue service accordingly.”

      In other words, if a ship’s captain knows a ship is in immediate distress, they are required to render immediate aid. If they are unable to aid, they must inform the appropriate authorities at the earliest opportunity that CAN render aid.

      Every captain from the smallest duck boat to the largest aircraft carrier knows if another ship is in distress you must render aid of what you are capable of without putting your own crew at undue risk of life or injury. If for some reason you cannot, you make an announcement over the radio to any other boats in the area who may be able to help. If none, you must let the nearest rescue organization know at the soonest available opportunity. Even in times of war. If you sink the enemy’s ship, your ship (if not under fire or other threat, of course) must render aid and pick up survivors. Period.

      Saving lives at sea is no laughing matter. It is done without question.

  3. TuxMan says:

    I would never be on a boat in the ocean without a radio. That’s just dumb.

    And to blame someone else for you being dumb is just wrong.

    Princess is not at fault.

    • AcctbyDay says:

      Two men died because the cruise ship would not stop. They are blaming no one for being adrift. They are blaming the cruise FOR WATCHING THEM DIE AND NOT HELPING.

      • JJFIII says:

        NO, they are blaming Princess for not stopping. Nobody stopped and watched them die. Why are they obligated to save you from your own stupidity?

        • Anathema777 says:

          They’re obligated by international maritime law.

        • AcctbyDay says:

          Several of the posts above reference the actual law. Many states also have laws on the books that require you to render aid to stranded motorists. These are poor Panamanian fisherman. I wonder, do you really think that they could afford a radio? The captain of the cruise line will face severe consequences for these men’s deaths and so he should.

        • Jack Doe says:

          Question: “Why are they obligated to save you from your own stupidity?”

          Short answer to your stupid, callous, ignorant question? Because the law says so. Also, be a fucking human being.

          Long answer: Because they fly under the flag of Bermuda, they are obligated and held under the laws and treaties that Bermuda has signed with regards to maritime law. Bermuda is a ratified signatory of the UN Conventon of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 1989 International Convention of Salvage, both of which impose a duty and obligation to assist seamen in distress.

          Additionally, Bermuda has a national law, the Merchant Shipping Act of 2002, which mandates and imposes a duty and obligation to assist mariners in distress.

          Further, Princess Lines (as part of Carnival Cruises) is a member of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA,) which is an NGO signatory to the International Maritime Orginizations, and is obligated to follow the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (ICSOLAS.)

          So, any other stupid questions?

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Obviously fucking stupid troll is fucking stupid.

      • FatLynn says:

        I agree that there is a moral liability, here, but legally? I think that’s a pretty damn big stretch.

        • AcctbyDay says:

          See references for the actual law. You can’t just watch people as they die and mosey on with your life. We have laws for a reason.

          • FatLynn says:

            In Florida court?

            • AcctbyDay says:

              Additional references cite Princess as being flagged in Panama, which like almost every country has rules requiring to render aid. Perhaps they chose the wrong court – it doesn’t matter though – the cruise should have stopped.

            • EarlNowak says:

              A Florida court is competent to render judgment based on both territorial and extraterritorial law, as long as the defendant is within its jurisdiction. The claim doesn’t have to be based in Florida or US law.

        • Intheknow says:

          Maritime law is very very clear on this. You must stop and render aid – or call someoneelse to do so as soon as possible.

      • Carlee says:

        I don’t know if it has been proved definitively that the captain of the cruise ship was aware of the stranded fishing boat. We know that a couple of bird-watching passengers said they saw the fishing boat and they told someone who works for the cruise line, but we don’t know who they told and in turn, what that person did with the information.

        (Obviously, even if it had been just someone cleaning the decks, that person should have at least passed on the information to someone who could get the info up to the bridge for the captain or whoever was on duty to take action).

        Nobody stopped and watched the people on the fishing boat die. The cruise ship was heading away from the area and didn’t stop.

    • cmdr.sass says:

      Yeah, how dare those fisherman be too poor to afford a radio. The very nerve of them!

    • imasqre says:

      Troll!! Yay!
      *sits back and reads with a smile.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      It might break. Then whatchoo gonna do, Sunshine? :P

    • Intheknow says:

      Guess you need to go back and read the facts and study a bit of maritime law. Princess is ABSOLUTELY at fault. Somewhere the chain of command broke down. I doubt that the captain even knew what was going on. That law is SO ingrained, everyone who works at sea knows what needs to be done. As for going to sea without a radio? Perhaps the small craft should have had one, but I’m thinking they were quite poor fishermen and simply couldn’t afford one.

  4. Bsamm09 says:

    Next time bring an EPIRB a VHF radio and a flare gun. (If he didn’t have them this time. I haven’t been really following)

    • IphtashuFitz says:

      You’re talking about a small boat from a small fishing village in Panama. While an EPIRB, etc. may seem like common sense (and in fact radios, flares, etc. are required in many countries) I’m willing to bet that given the high levels of poverty in rural Panama that these sorts of things aren’t even available in many cases.

    • framitz says:

      Next time, next time, next time. Ain’t hind sight great?
      Next time, don’t bother.

    • DonnieZ says:

      Though VHF radios work better over water, they probably aren’t suitable for being lost at sea. Most long distance maritime communications occur on HF. VHF radios are good for about 10KM over water, more if you are trying to talk to a large ship from a large antenna on a base station.

      Besides, rural Panamanian fisherman probalby can’t afford what we in the first world would consider an absolute necessity.

      Either way if it comes out that any “management” level crew knew of the fisherman in distress and continued on without doing anything about it – I hope they can live with their decision knowing that two men died as a result. I know I wouldn’t be able to.

      Besides, if the boat were close enough to see them, I’m sure it likely would have only taken an hour or so to get over their way – be it changing the course of the curise ship or mobilizing the small boats from the cruise ship. This would likely only have generated MORE revenue for the cruise ship, as they get more time at sea with their captive audiences and sail and sign accounts. Cruise ships make their nut on the “A Fun Day at Sea!” as Carnival likes to put it.

    • GrandizerGo says:

      A lot of these things that people are saying about bringing radios and flares and what have you are NOT a requirement.
      And since they are NOT a requirement, there is ZERO reason for someone to do so.
      True story, in Cancun, we went Tuna fishing. We rented a charter boat that had big outboards that stood the boat up. On the way out, many times the captain had to pull back on the speed so the front end of the boat would dip so he could see people in ROWBOATS with a 5 HP or LESS motor strapped / tied to the boat on their way out to the tuna grounds 50-75 miles out. The entire bottom of the boat is filled with 1 gal or less milk cartons with gasoline for the motor. The water is INCHES from coming in the sides of the boat.
      The boat we were on routinely renders assistance to these people in the form of gas, food, water and sometimes pulling them out of the water after someone carelessly swamped them.
      But there it is there life. Some of those people feed their entire neighborhood if they catch a tuna, they can make hundreds if not thousands of dollars by catching monster sized tunas that they can then sell.
      But I bet that not one of them is going to spend the money on a RADIO that would have ZERO use without the proper hardware to power it and / or the mounting of the antenna.

      In any case, MOST people that are NOT candidates for Darwin awards do what they can for safety. But a tossup of what you can afford and what you can use is in order.

  5. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    Were they in international waters? Who has jurisdiction in those cases?

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      What ever country the ship is flagged?

    • JJFIII says:

      Well he filed in Florida state court, which based on current law will mean a summary judgement will be issued that he loses. Even if the facts are exactly as he states, there is no duty to rescue under common law. There are some exceptions to this (your minor child, spouse, guests in your home, you caused the issue, employers). IF they had been passengers there would also be that same duty to rescue. Otherwise, there is no law to do anything.
      Though it does sound a little like the final episode of Seinfeld

      • wellfleet says:

        Florida common law statutes don’t apply here. Maritime law is explicit about a duty to stop and assist.

      • The Porkchop Express says:

        From earlnowak above:

        International maritime law requires it. All sailors have a duty to rescue if they can safely render aid. Per the 1974 SOLAS convention:
        “The master of a ship at sea which is in a position to be able to provide assistance, on receiving a signal from any source that persons are in distress at sea, is bound to proceed with all speed to their assistance, if possible informing them or the search and rescue service that the ship is doing so.”

        The 1979 SAR convention requires a ship’s master to:
        “…ensure that assistance be provided to any person in distress at sea… regardless of the nationality or status of such a person or the circumstances in which that person is found”… and to “provide for their initial medical or other needs , and deliver them to a place of safety.”

        2006 amendments to both conventions read as follows:
        “This obligation to provide assistance applies regardless of the nationality or status of such persons or the circumstances in which they are found.”

        Further, the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea requires all signatory countries to provide under it’s own law:
        “Every State shall require the master of a ship flying its flag, in so far as he can do so without serious danger to the ship, the crew, or the passengers: (a) to render assistance to any person found at sea in danger of being lost; (b) to proceed with all possible speed to the rescue of persons in distress, if informed of their need of assistance, in so far as such action may reasonably be expected of him . . . “

        Which is the source for the following law applicable to US flagged vessels.
        http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/46/2304

        “A master or individual in charge of a vessel shall render assistance to any individual found at sea in danger of being lost, so far as the master or individual in charge can do so without serious danger to the master’s or individual’s vessel or individuals on board.”

  6. FatLynn says:

    My first thought was that maybe there was nothing that Princess could/should have done without putting their own crew or passengers at risk. Then I realized that they certainly could have at least REPORTED the fishing boat to authorities.

    • EarlNowak says:

      It doesn’t matter if it puts the crew “at risk”, if aid can be safely rendered, it is required under international law.

      All sailors have a duty to rescue if they can safely render aid.

      Per the 1974 SOLAS convention:
      “The master of a ship at sea which is in a position to be able to provide assistance, on receiving a signal from any source that persons are in distress at sea, is bound to proceed with all speed to their assistance, if possible informing them or the search and rescue service that the ship is doing so.”

      The 1979 SAR convention requires a ship’s master to:
      “…ensure that assistance be provided to any person in distress at sea… regardless of the nationality or status of such a person or the circumstances in which that person is found”… and to “provide for their initial medical or other needs , and deliver them to a place of safety.”

      2006 amendments to both conventions read as follows:
      “This obligation to provide assistance applies regardless of the nationality or status of such persons or the circumstances in which they are found.”

      Further, the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea requires all signatory countries to provide under national law:
      “Every State shall require the master of a ship flying its flag, in so far as he can do so without serious danger to the ship, the crew, or the passengers: (a) to render assistance to any person found at sea in danger of being lost; (b) to proceed with all possible speed to the rescue of persons in distress, if informed of their need of assistance, in so far as such action may reasonably be expected of him . . . “

      Which is the source for the following law applicable to US flagged vessels.
      http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/46/2304

      “A master or individual in charge of a vessel shall render assistance to any individual found at sea in danger of being lost, so far as the master or individual in charge can do so without serious danger to the master’s or individual’s vessel or individuals on board.”

      • Bsamm09 says:

        “It doesn’t matter if it puts the crew “at risk”, if aid can be safely rendered, it is required under international law.”

        Isn’t this statement a contradiction? How can you safely render assistance while putting your crew at risk? Granted “safely” and “at risk” are pretty subjective. I think we can all agree that the cruise ship should have called in their coordinates and confirmed help was on the way and tried to give them food/water at the minimum.

        • EarlNowak says:

          “At any risk” is distinctly different from the “serious danger” standard required under the maritime law SAR standard.

          See US law for the following: “in so far as he can do so without serious danger to the ship, the crew, or the passengers”. Stopping the ship to drop a launch and investigate the boat has some risk to the crew and the launch (it could get eaten by leviathan), but it generally does not subject them to “serious danger” unless there’s poor weather or sighted leviathans.

  7. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    I don’t know what the civil law is, but the criminal is reasonably clear. This excerpt is from the maritime law of Bermuda, where Princess is flagged. From, http://www.cruiselawnews.com/2012/04/articles/rescue-1/duty-of-cruise-lines-to-assist-persons-in-distress-moral-legal-practical-considerations-on-the-high-seas/:

    “The master of a ship, on receiving at sea a signal of distress or information from any source that a ship or aircraft is in distress, shall proceed with all speed to the assistance of the persons in distress unless he is unable, or in the special circumstances of the case considers it unreasonable or unnecessary . . .”
    The Bermuda law includes criminal penalties, “. . . on conviction on indictment, to a fine of $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term of two years, or both.”

  8. sagodjur says:

    I was going to write:

    [insert self-righteous "they're not obligated to help" rant here]

    [insert my response about the need to be a f***ing human being]

    But I see that conversation is already being had here.

    Carry on.

  9. bhr says:

    Most likely the Captain/crew will claim that they believed this to be an attempted act of piracy rather than a floundering vessel. Since the boat did not seem to be sinking and did not radio the cruise ship it would have been rational, if not reasonable, to assume that the fishing vessel was trying to lure the cruise ship closer. The crew will claim an exemption from any rescue requirements out of passenger safety.

    Sadly this is the reality of maritime law as well. http://www.mmsn.org/pirates.htm

    • HoJu says:

      Exactly what I was thinking.

    • MrEvil says:

      They could still be liable. Just because the captain doesn’t want to run the risk of pirate attack doesn’t mean he can’t pick up the blower and radio the nearest authorities that there could be a possible stranded boat out there.

      That route is known to have pirate activity. I’m not surprised the captain would be suspicious.

    • iesika says:

      Did you see the image of the boat, the first time this was talked about? It’s freaking tiny.

      http://www.npr.org/2012/04/19/150897139/cruise-ship-didnt-aid-drifting-boat-passengers-say

      I suppose someone could have had a rocket launcher on there. Regardless, they should have called the authorities, whether for a stranded boat or suspected pirates. If they had just called the authorities, they wouldn’t be in any legal trouble anymore.

      • George4478 says:

        Size of the boat doesn’t matter. The Iranians were attacking ships in the 90’s using rocket launchers on speedboats — those boats are tiny. The Somali pirates have been known to send out small launches to make the larger ships stop and then the bigger boats with the large number of pirates arrive. The Achille Lauro, with approx. 1600 passengers/crew, was hijacked by 4 men.

        It doesn’t take a huge ship with hundreds of pirates.

        Note: I’m not saying Princess is correct; just pointing out the size of the boat is not important.

    • Actionable Mango says:

      The piracy excuse does not hold up because they indicated no such thing in their log and they did not contact any authorities capable of rescue.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      If piracy is that much of a problem I would sue the shipline for not fully disclosing in detail the dangers of cruising with them on that route. Full disclosure. Lets do it.

  10. Bane of Corporations says:

    With all the pirate stuff going on, who’s to say they wouldn’t be putting their passengers at risk if it was a trap set by pirates. If the crew was actually informed / someone high enough up the chain to do something, then they should have reported it to whatever coast guard / authorities are responsible for the area. I don’t think you can be mad at them for not wanting to potentially put their vessel and passengers at risk by stopping.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      That’s a duh not putting your own vessel at risk but that is why they should’ve informed the authorities in charge of rescues and/or attempted a rescue of anykind including establishing somekind of communication.

      An ocean liner isn’t like many of the smaller crewed cargo ships or private yachts that are jacked elsewhere. It’s not like the movies. The Italian liner in the 1980s was the last cruise liner jacked that I know of and they were full fledged terrorists and not pirates out for financial gain.

  11. Leohat says:

    Bird watchers on the cruise ship were using a relatively high power spotting scope when they spotted the boat and took some pictures (and I think low quality video but I’m not sure about that).
    A junior officer from the cruise ship was shown the fishing boat and confirmed seeing the fishermen. The excuse that the captain of the cruise ship gave when told that people on a small boat were waving t-shirts and shouting was that the fisherman were “thanking them for not fouling their nets”.

    All three fisherman were alive at the time they were spotted.

    The fisherman were from a poor fishing village in a non-ocean going boat. Their engine gave out or ran out of gas (I’ve read both). They were not far from land but drifted when their engine gave out.

    The Panamanian coast guard did have an active search and rescue for the missing boat at the time. From what I’ve read, it is unclear if the cruise ship knew about the search and rescue.

    As a follow up, the bird watchers attempted to contact authorities on land but were not able to get a phone number for the Panamanian coast guard but were only able to reach a land based Princess representative.

  12. buddyedgewood says:

    Captain of a Princess Cruise Lines: “The Titanic is sinking just 5 miles away you say? That’s not possible, it’s unsinkable! So, we’ll just stay on course…”