Boating Accidents

Princess Cruises Says New Photographic Evidence Proves it Didn’t Ignore Adrift Boat’s Distress Signal


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Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. is comprised of attorneys that are nationally-recognized industry leaders in the field of maritime and admiralty law. Our team of lawyers has over a century of combined experience, has successfully handled over 3,000 cases, and has recovered over 300 million dollars in damages for our clients.

After being accused of ignoring signals by a distressed boating accident victim, Princess Cruises alleges it has new evidence that corroborates its original claim that it was not involved in the incident.

The cruise line was accused by the sole survivor of a small Panamanian fishing skiff of ignoring his distressed signals, even though passengers aboard Princess allegedly alerted ship authorities. However, Princess hired a photographic expert, who determined that the small finishing boat that had been photographed from the deck of the Star Princess with people waving what appeared to be rags was not the boat in question, which was named the Fifty Cent.

“We have discovered some recent video that we believe conclusively proves that our ship, Star Princess, was not the cruise ship spotted by the Fifty Cent boat that was adrift in the Pacific Ocean,” says Julie Benson, Vice President, Public Relations of Princess Cruises, a unit of Carnival Corp.

The photographer Princess hired, Michael Snyder, is a retired NASA photo analyst. He concluded: “The small boat photographed by the passengers on board Star Princess is clearly not the small boat called Fifty Cent that [sole survivor] Adrian Vasquez was found adrift on.”

The Fifty Cent had gone adrift for nearly a month and two of the three young men who had been onboard died. Vasquez, 18, explained the boat’s engine failed just after leaving the coast for what should have been a fishing outing. According to Vasquez, one of his fellow boaters, Oropeces Betancourt, 24, died hours after their boat was passed by a large cruise ship and the other victim, 16-year-old Fernando Osorio, died a few days later. Vasquez himself was rescued two weeks later off the Galapagos Islands.

Princess was accused of failing to offer the vessel assistance and is facing multiple lawsuits as a result of the incident, which took place last March. However, despite contending that the new photographic evidence proves Captain Edward Perrin and other senior bridge officers did not ignore a vessel in peril, the company has ordered changes to the way distress signals will be handled from now on.

“We have used this as a valuable learning opportunity and have strengthened our bridge-reporting procedures to ensure that all messages of concern from passengers or crew are carefully evaluated by our senior bridge officers,” said Alan Buckelew, president and CEO of Princess Cruises.

While the photographic evidence may have helped clear Princess of the incident, there have been times in which major cruise lines were in fact guilty of negligence. Anyone involved in a cruise accident or negligence case may be entitled to receive compensation and seeking the help of a boating accident lawyer is key to ensuring those responsible are held liable for the incident.

Our boating accident lawyers are available to offer seamen, cruise passengers and those who were involved in any accident while on the high seas assistance in filing a claim and protecting their rights. We are glad to help those who have been injured or lost someone they love in a boating accident and will see to it the maximum possible recovery is attained.

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