A lawsuit was filed in Miami against Princess Cruises last week that alleges the cruise line failed to rescue three young men aboard a disabled Panamanian fishing boat. Two of the men, Fernando Osorio and Oropeces Betancourt, later died at sea. The lone survivor, Adrian Vasquez, was rescued 13 days after being sighted by the cruise liner.
The vessel the stranded men were on, the Fifty Cents, had been adrift for 15 days when it came within the sight of the Star Princess. Three Star Princess passengers spotted the Fifty Cents and alerted a crew member. The crew member visually confirmed the distressed boat and reported the emergency situation to the Star Princess’s bridge and other employees. Despite the three stranded men waiving their arms and a shirt tied to a pole to signal they were in distress, the Star Princess failed to alter its course and failed to rescue the men. One of the men died 24-36 hours after the Star Princess sighted the Fifty Cents and the other man died a few days later. The cruise line blames its failure to rescue the men on an “unfortunate miscommunication,” as it claims the captain of the Star Princess was never notified of the distressed vessel. The lone survivor was rescued 13 days after being sighted by the Star Princess by another fishing boat.
The lawsuit alleges that Princess Cruises’ actions amounted to “outrageous conduct” and “callous disregard for human life.” Unfortunately, the Star Princess is registered in Bermuda under the “flag of convenience” system, which allows United States-based cruise ships to avoid many United States taxes and labor and safety laws.