Cruise Ship Let Castaways Die
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
(AP Photo/Jeff Gilligan)
Two fishermen from Panama adrift in their disabled boat might have lived had an American cruise ship bothered to stop and pick them up last month.
While sailing from South America to the United States on March 10, the Star Princess cruise ship traveled by a small fishing boat that had become disabled when its outboard engine refused to start. Three American birdwatchers aboard the Star Princess spotted three men waving in the distance for help. One of them, Judy Meredith from Bend, Oregon, alerted a crew member, who contacted the captain of the Star Princess, Edward Perrin. However Perrin chose to continue on course. Distressed, Meredith immediately sent an email to the U.S. Coast Guard, giving the coordinates of the disabled fishing boat.
The fishing boat drifted further out into Pacific, until an Ecuadoran fishing vessel intercepted it two weeks later. By then two of the men had died of thirst. The lone survivor, 18-year-old Adrian “Santi” Vasquez, relayed the story of spotting the Star Princess and insisted his friends, 24-year-old Oropeces Betancourt and 16-year-old Fernando Osario, would have lived had the ship picked them up.
Perrin insists that his crew did not inform him about the fishermen signaling for help.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Panama Castaways Were Spotted By Cruise Ship Passengers - And Ignored By Ship's Captain (by Don Winner, Panama Guide)
Despicable: Princess Cruise Luxury Ship Sails Past Dying Fishermen -- A Parable For Our Times (by Blake Fleetwood, Huffington Post)
Cruise Line: Captain Never Told of Disabled Boat (by Juan Zamorano and Jeff Barnard, Associated Press)
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