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Fisherman sues cruise ship that sailed past stranded vessel

The Panamanian fisherman watched his two companions die after a US cruise liner sailed past their distressed vessel in the middle of the Pacific and failed to stop.

Image: Arnulfo Franco/AP/Press Association Images

A PANAMANIAN FISHERMAN who watched two of his companions die after they were cast adrift in the Pacific Ocean is suing an American cruise ship that sailed past the desperate men’s boat and failed to help.

Adrian Vasquez, 18, has filed a lawsuit alleging negligence by Princess Cruises after one of its ships sailed past the dying fishermen.

Passengers on the ship spotted the three men, who had tried to alert attention by waving a red jumper, and told staff. However, the firm said neither the captain nor the officer on watch were ever informed.

When the cruise liner sailed past, the men had already been adrift for 16 days. By the time another ship passed and stopped to rescue them – 12 days later – only Vasquez was still alive. His companions, 16-year-old Fernando Osorio and 31-year-old Elvis Oropeza, had died of thirst, reports the New Strait Times.

Vasquez says a sudden heavy downpour replenished his fresh water supplies and allowed him to live long enough to be rescued.

The three fishermen had set out from the port of Rio Hato in February but suffered an engine failure, leaving them stranded in hundreds of kilometres from land.

Princess Cruises has blamed a “breakdown in communication” for the tragic incident, according to the BBC.

The company and said it understood it was obliged by the law of the sea to help any vessel in distress, and noted that its ships had been involved in more than 30 rescues in the past decade.

Read: ‘Ghost ship’ from Japan tsunami spotted off Canada

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