Passengers say captain ignored their pleas to help after they spotted the stranded boat

An investigation has been launched after passengers on board

the cruise ship Star Princess claimed

their pleas to rescue a boat stranded in the Pacific Ocean went ignored.

The fishing boat, named Fifty Cents, had been floating adrift in the ocean for two weeks

before the cruise ship – owned by Carnival, the same company that operated Costa Concordia – passed her by.

It’s believed that one of the three

Panamanian fishermen died of dehydration just hours after the sighting, the Guardian reports. A second boy, aged just 16, died five days later suffering

from dehydration, sunburn and heat stroke. Adrian Vasquez was eventually

rescued after spending a total of 28 days stranded at sea.

Vasquez told that he was waving a red

t-shirt and his friend was waving a bright orange jacket to attract the

attention of the cruise ship. He added: “For a minute it looked like they were

going to turn to come for us, but then they just went on their way.”

According to a crewmember spoke with the

captain, who said their course was being altered to “avoid the fisherman’s


An investigation is currently underway to establish what

happened when passengers claim they tried to raise the alarm on March 10.

Carnival says the message didn’t reach the captain, blaming a communications

for the tragedy.

Jeff Gilligan was one of the passengers of Star Princess who tried to instigate the rescue of the fishermen.

He said a member of the crew had looked through binoculars at the boat and

agreed that he could see what they had described to him.

“We suggested that the people from the bridge came down and

looked. He said they had binoculars,” Gilligan explained. “We were convinced

the bridge knew what was happening and thought maybe it took a while to turn

around. But after a while we realised it wasn’t turning. But we told ourselves

that this cruise ship would have radioed coastguards.”

After his rescue Vasquez was tracked down by Panama-based

blogger Don Winner, who was able to confirm that the fisherman had seen the

cruise ship. He also confirmed that the photo above, taken by Gilligan and published on, was of Fifty

stranded at sea. Winner later published

satellite-tracking data on the website, which proves that Star Princess was in the same area as the stranded boat at the

same time.

“Princess Cruises deeply regrets that two Panamanian

men perished at sea after their boat became disabled in early March,” a

statement said.

“We all understand that it is our responsibility and

also the law of the sea to provide assistance to any vessel in distress, and it

is not an uncommon occurrence for our ships to be involved in a rescue at sea.

In fact, we have done so more than 30 times in the last 10 years. We deeply

regret this incident and are continuing our investigation to fully understand

the circumstances.”

The investigation is still underway.

You can read more about this story on