Bird-watcher Jeff Gilligan snapped this photograph of a small boat in distress. Gilligan and others say the cruise ship he was traveling on did not stop to help the stricken craft.

On the 10th of March, the cruise ship Star Princess, owned by Princess Cruises, sailed by a fishing vessel which had been stranded at sea for two weeks.  Noting the crew of the fishing vessel was clearly trying to gain the attention of the cruise ship, three passengers on board the Star Princess who witnessed this immediately alerted the ship’s watchstanders.

No action was taken and the ship’s log recorded that they were avoiding the fisherman’s nets and did not acknowledge the apparent distress of the Panamanian fishermen.

jeff gilligan

A zoomed-in view of the photo taken by Jeff Gilligan. When he saw the image, Adrian Vasquez -- the boat's only survivor -- said, "That's us.

In a statement, Princess Cruises says, “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.”

After two more weeks of drifting helplessly, only one of the three person crew had survived to make it back to shore.  In Panama, reporter Don Winner with the website Panama-Guide.com, tracked down the sole survivor, 18-year-old Adrian Vasquez, and recorded the following video of the interview.  Skip to 3:32 to hear the English translation.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vp_REoo3gjU[/youtube]

For more detail on this incident, please read NPR’s report by clicking HERE.

 

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