The sole survivor of the F/V FIFTY CENTS, which remained adrift in the Pacific Ocean for 28 days, has filed a civil lawsuit against Princess Cruises over allegations that one of its ships failed to aid the three men stranded aboard the disabled boat. Although Adrian Vasquez, 18, was eventually rescued near the Galapagos Islands, sadly, Fernando Osorio, 16, and Oropeces Betancourt, 24, both died within days of the STAR PRINCESS passing them by.
On Mar. 10, just over two weeks after the F/V FIFTY CENTS lost power and became stranded in open ocean, the STAR PRINCESS sailed near the 10-foot boat. Hoping to be rescued at last, Vasquez and his friends attempted to gain the cruise ship’s attention by waving their arms and a shirt tied to a pole. Three Princess passengers spotted the men and notified a crewmember about the distressed vessel. At that point, all three men were alive, though severely dehydrated.
The lawsuit, filed in Miami, Fla., alleges that although the crewmember visually confirmed there was a vessel in distress and reported the situation to the ship’s bridge, the STAR PRINCESS refused to offer assistance, violating maritime law and sealing the fate of Osorio and Betancourt. Princess officials claim the incident was “a case of unfortunate miscommunication” and that “the captain . . . was never notified of the passengers’ concern.”
Whether the STAR PRINCESS knowingly refused to aid the stranded fishermen as alleged or it truly was a case of miscommunication, two young men needlessly died at sea, and Princess Cruises should be held accountable for its inaction. A ship’s crew must be acutely aware of its surroundings at all times, ready to respond to dangerous conditions and emergency situations, and there should be policies in place to ensure urgent information is communicated to the captain quickly and efficiently.
Did a cruise line’s negligence cause the death of your loved one? Contact a Boston maritime attorney today.
Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston maritime trial lawyers