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Princess Cruise passes stranded fishing boat, denting cruisliners' image again

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One hundred years after the sinking of the Titanic, it's been another abominable year for the cruiseliner industry – from fires, to capsizing, to the most recent news that a luxury liner sailed past a stranded fishing boat from Panama, even though passengers aboard spotted three men adrift. Two of them ended up dying.

The lone survivor of the ordeal told the Associated Press that he and two other fishermen were returning home to Panama after a successful expedition when the motor failed in their vessel. They could see land, but drifted farther and farther away. For 16 days they survived off the fish they caught, weakening by the day, when they spotted a giant ship in the distance. They waved a red sweater and orange life-vest furiously.

"Tio, look what's coming over there," Adrain Vasquez told the AP he recalled saying. “We felt happy, because we thought they were coming to rescue us.” 

But the ship continued on its course, and two weeks later Mr. Vasquez was found in his boat off Ecuador's Galapagos Islands. His two friends did not survive.

And now the cruiseliner is facing a barrage of criticism. Passengers on the boat say they believe they saw the three men through highpower binoculars used for birdwatching, and say they alerted the crew, but no effort was made to help the boat. They even have a photo

Princess Cruises of California said that their initial investigations show the captain and other officers were not told of the plight of the men, according to the AP, otherwise they would have changed routes and rescued them.


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