Young Panamanian fisherman, 18 year-old Adrian Vasquez, who survived 28 days at sea on a small disabled fishing punga is suing Princess Cruise Lines in the United States, because the cruise ship failed to stop and give aid in compliance with SOLAS regulations.
Princess Cruise Line's Star Princess passed the crippled craft and did not stop, despite being alerted by birdwatchers on board that the people on the small boat was signalling for help.
As a result, Vasquez two companions died a short time later and young Vasquez drifted on alone.
Lawyer Edna Ramos says the lawsuit alleging negligence by Prince Cruise Lines was filed in a Florida state court on behalf of Adrian Vasquez. Ramos said the lawsuit included testimony from two cruise ship passengers who said they saw the disabled boat and reported it to a cruise representative on the Star Princess liner.
So now the enforcement of the SOLAS (Save Our Lives At Sea) regulations has moved to a civil suit in the US against the company. The incident is also being investigated in Bermuda, where the ship is registered.
The case of the Star Princess cruise ship´s failure to stop for drifting Panamanian fishermen 150 miles off shore is now in the hands of Bermudan authorities. An independent investigation to probe the case has been launched. Bermuda's Deputy Premier and Minister of Transport, Derrick Burgess assured the Bermuda Assembly that the Department of Maritime Administration had contacted the cruise line and had an initial response.
Mr Burgess told the House of Assembly: “As the duty to assist ships in distress is explicitly defined in the Merchant Shipping Act 2002, including the failure to do so as an offence, we have met with our counsel from the Attorney General’s Chambers and fully apprised him of the situation. We have also met with the Bermuda Police Service and they have confirmed their commitment to assist as required.”
Full report: http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20120421/NEWS/704209913
The Cruise Ship - Star Princess - that sailed past three distressed Panamanian fishermen in International waters will be investigated by the country of register, Bermuda.
According to the Antigua Observer, the investigation of the incident has already been opened. Princess Cruises has responded that there has been a breakdown in communication between Bridge and passengers and that the Captain is devastated that he has been accused of knowingly turning his back on people in distress.
It will be interesting to see if reponsibility is pursued vigorously. Will the log book be requested? What are the consequences of this action if he or the line are found guilty? Who investiagates and prosecutes if maritime law is violated? What are the consequences for the Cruise line and the Captain?
All this adds some interesting issues for someone booking an international cruise. One case of a cruise ship registered in Liberia: passenger was raped and Liberian law on rape applied! Wow!