Last month the story of a Panamanian teenager made headlines around the world after he survived 28 days adrift on a 10-foot boat named, Fifty-Cents. Unfortunately his two friends who were also onboard died from dehydration before thea rescue operation was launched.
It has now emerged though that Princess Cruises, Star Princess, was travelling from Ecuador to Costa Rica and passed quite near to the path of the fishing boat yet failed to stop or offer any kind of assistance to the small boat.
Three passengers onboard the Star Princess have made claims that they alerted the ship’s crew but that no action was taken. One passenger, Judy Meredith, 65, from Bend, Oregon told the Guardian: “Finding out later that the Fifty Cents continued at sea for over two more weeks was horrific news. And two of the men died and both could have lived, had the cruise ship responded to our urgent request.”
Another passenger onboard Jeff Gilligan, who also claims to have spotted the small boat said: “I saw an object that looked like a little house. We then used spotting scopes with a fixed tripod and I could see this strange little boat and at least one person standing up waving a piece of cloth high over his head, up and down.
“We could see it was not moving there were nets pulled on to the boat and apparently no nets in the water. So we soon questioned, is this a stranded, disabled boat, signaling us for help?”
Apparently Mr. Gilligan had taken three photographs of the small boat before it was out of sight. It has been confirmed that the boat contained within the images is in fact the small Fifty-Cents fishing boat.
On Tuesday a spokesman for the company commented: “We’re aware of the allegations that Star Princess supposedly passed by a boat in distress that was carrying three Panamanian fishermen on 10 March, 2012.
“At this time we cannot verify the facts as reported, and we are currently conducting an internal investigation on the matter. We were very saddened to learn that two lives were lost aboard the boat, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families involved.”