18-year-old Adrian Vasquez of Panama is suing Princess Cruises for negligence after surviving 28 days adrift at sea. Three witnesses with a telescope spotted the stranded ship during its 16th day adrift and alerted the Princess staff of the stranded seamen, expecting the ship to rescue or help the men in some way. However, no help was sent to the stranded boat.
Two of Vasquez’s friends died during the twelve day period at sea after the Star Princess encounter, and Vasquez was finally rescued by an Ecuadorian military ship close to the Galapagos Islands. Vasquez said that Fernando Osorio, 16, died in the evening after the cruise ship ignored them. Oropeces Betancourt, 24, died five days later according to Vasquez.
Three passengers on the Star Princess cruise ship were bird watching with a high-powered telescope when they spotted the three men on the stranded ship signaling for help. They immediately alerted a crew member of the situation, but no effort was made to rescue the men despite the desperate situation they were in hundreds of miles from shore.
When the three bird watching passengers asked the officer about what happened to the three men on the boat the officer ignored their questions and did not give an answer. Karen Candy, spokesman for Princess Cruises said that they are conducting a full investigation of the incident. Candy told reporters that had the captain been alerted of the stranded ship, he would have made every effort to help the men in need. Candy also stated that the incident may have occurred because of a massive breakdown in communication.
Vasquez’s attorney speculates that the reason the Star Princess did not stop to help the stranded boaters is that they didn’t want to deviate from the ship’s schedule because it would cost Princess Cruises money.
Vasquez is suing Princess Cruises in Florida state court, seeking monetary compensation for the additional physical and emotional offshore injury that he claims he suffered due to the negligence of the cruise ship’s employees. Vasquez survived almost a month stranded at sea on a failing 10-foot boat, drinking only rain water and eating fish from the sea. He lowered his two friends’ bodies into the ocean after they became badly decomposed.