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Did cruise ship ignore stranded fishermen?
April 19, 2012 11:09 AM   Subscribe

Remember those Ecuadorian fishermen who died after a month adrift, leaving only one survivor... yeah, turns out cruise ship passengers saw them, alerted the captain, he did nothing and later appears to have lied in his report.
posted by Cosine (85 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Lust for Life", indeed, Carnival.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:14 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Star Princess, I curse you filthy.
posted by griphus at 11:14 AM on April 19, 2012 [11 favorites]


curse kill
posted by griphus at 11:15 AM on April 19, 2012


David Foster Wallace's suicide was a tragedy for many reasons, but partly because it's a shame he's not around to give his two cents on the recent travails of the cruise ship industry.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:16 AM on April 19, 2012 [16 favorites]


Yeah, I should have added: Why am I not surprised that it turned out to be Carnival.
posted by Cosine at 11:17 AM on April 19, 2012


Whats with cruise ship captains being asshole lately?
posted by Felex at 11:19 AM on April 19, 2012


Why am I not surprised that the guy who first spotted the stranded boaters was named "Gilligan"?
posted by ShutterBun at 11:21 AM on April 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Man, I'm glad I'm not in cruise ship public relations. What's next, ramming whales?
posted by gottabefunky at 11:22 AM on April 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Good lord. I'm no expert on admiralty law, but damn, that seems like one of these things that should be close to a hanging offense outside of wartime conditions.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:25 AM on April 19, 2012 [27 favorites]


Man, I'm glad I'm not in cruise ship public relations. What's next, ramming whales?

Soooo last year.

Yup, wow.
posted by Cosine at 11:26 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Perhaps the captain was frightened that his ship would capsize if he turned to help them.
posted by fairmettle at 11:26 AM on April 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've said it before and I'll say it again, I will NEVER go on a cruise ship. That whole industry is like a 10 cent hooker dressed up and thinking she's the Queen of England.
posted by aacheson at 11:30 AM on April 19, 2012 [30 favorites]


I know that snark is expected around here but one boy died the next day, and the other died five days later in one of the very worst and most horrible ways to die. This is beyond horrific. Even if this ship was unable to help for some reason I cannot imagine, they could easily have called in some kind of naval help? And what about the other crew who were aware of the situation?

What rmd1023 said.
posted by Glinn at 11:31 AM on April 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


"like a 10 cent hooker dressed up and thinking she's the Queen of England."

I'm not sure if this is an insult to the Queen or to sex workers.
posted by zippy at 11:32 AM on April 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Meredith went inside to try to place a call to the ship's bridge, to alert the crew about what they'd seen. The only crew member she could find was with the ship's sales team.

For some reason, I'm not surprised.
posted by carter at 11:34 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


What the fuck is wrong with the chain of command at Carnival that this captain didn't stop? As tempting as it is to pin all the blame on him as a bad actor, I don't believe it -- I don't believe that someone would be that callous unless they had considerable pressure placed on them from above. Nothing so extreme as "let people die of exposure," of course, but probably more like "schedule slippage will result in penalties or firings regardless of cause." And maybe the captain should have made different decisions despite those conditions -- certainly he should have -- but this is an institutional problem, not a personal one.
posted by KathrynT at 11:36 AM on April 19, 2012 [14 favorites]


We can only punish them with our pocketbooks. Get to work, social media activists. I feel sure you can bleed Carnival dry on this -- it's exactly the sort of thing angry grandparents will forward on to each other via email.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:38 AM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


KathrynT: I believe it: it seems that the captain's logs from the actual date say that it was just a few happy fishermen in their boats who wanted them to stay away from their nets and were only waving to thank them.
posted by Cosine at 11:38 AM on April 19, 2012


bleed Carnival dry on this -- it's exactly the sort of thing angry grandparents will forward on to each other via email.

In my experience the type of person who takes a cruise is not the type of person to be bothered nearly enough by this to change their actions.
posted by Cosine at 11:40 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


In my experience, one well-written email that has aunt Lucy crying will reach a million people by Wednesday.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:41 AM on April 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


How Cruise Lines Avoid Blame and a not so dissimilar story about Disney Cruises.
posted by adamvasco at 11:44 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


My 16-year-old son was in the car with me this morning when this story played on NPR. The look he gave me when he realized what the captain had done was the exact same look he gave me at about age 1 when I held his arms down tightly so the doctor could give him a shot. Shock, betrayal, and a realization that people can be willfully cruel.

This time I didn't have any soothing words to offer him. People are willfully, selfishly, casually cruel.
posted by headnsouth at 11:44 AM on April 19, 2012 [11 favorites]


Let's not forget that there were multiple passengers who saw and immediately notified folks they thought could help.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:47 AM on April 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


In my experience the type of person who takes a cruise is not the type of person to be bothered nearly enough by this to change their actions.

You know the people who tried to alert the captain were on the cruise, right?
posted by oneirodynia at 11:47 AM on April 19, 2012 [46 favorites]


I don't believe that someone would be that callous unless they had considerable pressure placed on them from above.

I realize that ship's captains are corporate employees, but they're still ostensibly the masters of their vessels, and certainly subject to international maritime law, which, according to the NPR article, is unambiguous:
International maritime law clearly requires ships that come upon other vessels in distress to render assistance, if they can do so without endangering themselves.
In my book, being a little late for a port of call doesn't count as "endangering" the vessel, and the captain could have made a radio call, for Pete's sake.

Even as a young boy, I knew the Captain was the master of the ship, enough so that the company representative bullying Leslie Neilsen's character in the beginning of The Poseidon Adventure always rang false to me. If these allegations prove true, this joker is no more fit to command a ship than the disgraced master of the Costa Concordia.
posted by Gelatin at 11:49 AM on April 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


In my experience the type of person who takes a cruise is not the type of person to be bothered nearly enough by this to change their actions.

You know the people who tried to alert the captain were on the cruise, right?


You're right, my bad, too much snark there, just upset about the whole issue.
posted by Cosine at 11:49 AM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Star Princess is a Princess Cruises ship, although both companies are part of the same holding company.

My sister works for Princess, I'll try to see if I can get the inside scoop.

Although, I do know of passengers calling the "1-800-Princess" type number during their cruise to report problems and then expecting the cust svc rep in Valencia, CA (my sister) to just xfer their call to the bridge of the cruise the passenger is calling from.
posted by sideshow at 11:50 AM on April 19, 2012


this is an institutional problem, not a personal one.

The only words every posted here by KathrynT that I disagreed with. Institutions are made of human beings. Humans have moral obligations to their fellow humans, regardless of pressure. Institutions' obligations are to things like shareholders, prestige, and self-perpetuation.

Not to reach for the obvious godwinning, but people have responsibilities regardless of their institutional obligations, and sometimes you have to put your job on the line, or more.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:50 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Star Princess is a Bermuda flagged vessel, and Section 101 of the the Merchant Shipping act of 2002 provides for criminal penalties for the master of a Bermuda ship who fails to provide assistance "on receiving at sea a signal of distress or information from any source that a ship or aircraft is in distress".

So there's that as well.
posted by Grimgrin at 11:51 AM on April 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


The Star Princess is a luxury cruise ship operated by Carnival. It has four pools, a nine-hole putting green, a casino, and cabins for some 2,000 passengers.

These metaphors just seem to write themselves.
posted by swift at 11:51 AM on April 19, 2012


The three fishermen were poor and of mixed race/black. Therefore their lives were judged cheap, if not worthless. It's as simple as that. See also WWII sole-survivor Poon Lim, spotted at least once on his epic 700-mile drift across the mid-Atlantic, but not picked up because he was Chinese.
posted by Sonny Jim at 11:51 AM on April 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's interesting to revisit the answers to my question about this some time ago in light of this event. Particularly the answers to the second part of the question, which talk about formal and informal maritime codes of conduct and so forth.

I'm not ready to give up on the idea that this cruise line and this captain will see consequences.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:53 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Meredith says they never heard back from the crew. In desperation, she marked down the ship's coordinates and sent an email to a Coast Guard website, without results.

I wonder what happened here.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:55 AM on April 19, 2012 [25 favorites]


I'm thinking of this answer, just for example.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:55 AM on April 19, 2012


This would be the same ship that suffered a pretty serious fire (caused by a discarded cigarette) a couple years ago which killed a passenger as the balconies had no smoke detectors or sprinklers.
posted by zachlipton at 11:55 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thank you deregulation.
posted by wuwei at 11:59 AM on April 19, 2012


I'm not sure why, as I don't suppose it stacks up to the horrible shit that happens in the world on a daily basis, but this story has made me really angry.
posted by brundlefly at 12:02 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


A cruise ship captain willfully ignores someone seeking to be rescued

*Three* people, two of whom died after the captain ignored them.

Said not to criticize EmpressCallipygos, but to observe that his inaction truly was a matter of life and death.
posted by Gelatin at 12:08 PM on April 19, 2012


[A few comments removed. You never need to pop into a thread just to correct someone's obvious typo. Roll your eyes and move on with your day.]
posted by cortex at 12:17 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a child, my life was saved by a cruise ship that stopped to pick up a boat full of starving Vietnamese refugees. We had been drifting in the ocean for over three weeks after running out of fuel and chased by pirates. This makes me sad on so many levels.
posted by snickerdoodle at 12:24 PM on April 19, 2012 [74 favorites]


Rage. Hate. I can't even form proper sentences right now, I'm so full of... rage. There's no other word for it.

This guy needs to go to jail for manslaughter or something. He was informed that there was a stranded boat. And he was too lazy to do anything about it. And he knew, he fucking knew that he should have done something, so he lied on the reports and made some bogus story about how the cruiseliner had contacted the ship, and was told to just 'carry on'.

How can you even live with yourself after that? One of those kids died the next day. And then the other one died several days later. They died young, by slow, terrible, painful deaths. And they could have been saved if the captain had bothered to care.

Well, fuck him and let him rot in jail.
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:29 PM on April 19, 2012 [13 favorites]


Fear and laziness will be the undoing of us all.
posted by smidgen at 12:30 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


If Princess Cruises fires the captain we'll know they have at least plausible deniability that this is corporate policy.

If they don't, it's clear they can't risk a real investigation.
posted by jamjam at 12:33 PM on April 19, 2012


I've said it before and I'll say it again, I will NEVER go on a cruise ship. That whole industry is like a 10 cent hooker dressed up and thinking she's the Queen of England.

This statement unfair to 10-cent hookers.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 12:44 PM on April 19, 2012


Of all the cruise liner companies to ignore the laws of the sea, it's the one that sank one cruiser liner and had another one stranded, powerless, in the middle of the sea within months of each other. Be careful guys, or the next time you'll just get left to die...
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:45 PM on April 19, 2012


Doesn't surprise me that this was a Princess Cruise. Fie on them.

I went on a Caribbean cruse with friends of mine in the mid-nineties. My freind was at the end of his life with AIDS and he wanted one last hurrah. Oddly enough the other couple we went with also had an ailing person in it.

Gary complained of a headache pretty much from the time we got on board. He ended up going to the medical folks on board. Imagine my surprise that three days after doing so he was in a coma, and interestingly enough, STILL ON THE DAMN BOAT!

I arranged to have him airlifted off the boat in Martinique, he died on the flight back to the US.

Apparently once they've cashed the check, Carnival/Princess could give two shits about you.

I like cruises, it's a great way to completely unplug from the world and relax, but I'll be damned if I give Carnival even .01 of my money.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:53 PM on April 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


this is so appalling I don't even know what to say. it's not just cruel or lazy. it's evil.

my father-in-law & his girlfriend are cruise fiends. they love to talk about how they can't wait for us to have children so they can bring them on family cruises! I've already written and revised the askme in my head and I'm not even pregnant yet.
posted by changeling at 1:06 PM on April 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


That whole industry is like a 10 cent hooker dressed up and thinking she's the Queen of England.

You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:10 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


My mom and her friend are cruise junkies and she tells me that her non-Carnival cruises will stop and render aid all the time in situations like that. On her last cruise they were delayed almost a day because they were waiting for the Mexican authorities to come pick up fishermen in a similar situation (except, off the coast of Mexico, obviously and you didn't read about it because everyone lived). Mom did say some of the passengers were pissed the cruise was delayed because it meant they'd get to the next port later. But most people saw it for what it was, the duty to render aid at sea. And they're on a fucking floating hotel casino in beautiful weather.

Hell, even the corporation in the Alien universe was OK with answering distress signals in space.

It seems in this case, the captain was more concerned with his on-time stats and catching hell from HQ if he was late. I'm sure there's paperwork to fill out as well. I hope that those on the bridge that decided to ignore the stranded boat are fired and prosecuted.
posted by birdherder at 1:12 PM on April 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


Hell, even the corporation in the Alien universe was OK with answering distress signals in space.

That made me think of Star Trek: Voyager, which could have gotten home 20 years sooner if they hadn't stopped for every freaking distress call within 300 light years.
posted by desjardins at 1:20 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's cold comfort, but my understanding of the relevant treaties and regulations leads me to believe the captain had an affirmative duty to render aid, and thus will likely never again sail as master of any vessel.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:21 PM on April 19, 2012


It's cold comfort, but my understanding of the relevant treaties and regulations leads me to believe the captain had an affirmative duty to render aid, and thus will likely never again sail as master of any vessel.

That's one of the things that makes this situation so appalling, though. He had a legal and moral duty. And as a sailor, he probably had a traditional duty as well. One passage that struck me about a book I read on the Andrea Doria sinking was that, since it went down close to the coast of the US, there were no shortage of crews wishing to participate in the rescue. (The book also pointed out, for what it's worth, that one of the ships that played a major role in the rescue was the ocean liner Ile de France.)

Stacked up against all that, he decided to sail on, apparently not even reporting the castaways. I don't know what policies the line has, but it would seem that the captain at least believed his interest lay in ignoring the stricken sailors.
posted by Gelatin at 1:29 PM on April 19, 2012


Hell, even the corporation in the Alien universe was OK with answering distress signals in space.

"Carnival corporate, come in Carnival corporate, this is Princess Star. Passengers are reporting a distress call in the water. Permission to establish rescue effort. Again, permission to establish rescue effort, over."

"Princess Star, this is Carnival corporate. We'd like to remind you of what happened to the crew that answered the distress call on LV-426. Over."

"I don't think we're at any risk for losing human lives here. Over."

"We don't remember that part too clearly, but they lost a very expensive piece of electronic equipment and we'd like to avoid that. Permission to establish rescue denied. Over."
posted by griphus at 1:36 PM on April 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


holy crap -- I posted this on facebook, and an acquaintance of mine just told me her parents were on that ship. she doesn't think they heard what happened yet.
posted by changeling at 2:36 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is just mind boggling on so many levels. Even if they didn't want to stop completely, the captain could have still launched one of the SAR zodiacs that the ship carries for this exact purpose and had the boat checked out and then radioed for help if the zodiac couldn't take all of the castaways back to the cruise ship for some reason. Just callous. And falsifying the log shows he knew he did wrong and tried to cover his tracks.
posted by barc0001 at 2:54 PM on April 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


I can't help but think that the people who saw the stranded boat will feel guilty about this for a long time.
posted by BungaDunga at 2:55 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


(by which I mean, they're not actually guilty. At all. But they'll be stuck with the memory of this, and wonder if they could have, I don't know, rappelled onto the bridge and forced it to turn around)
posted by BungaDunga at 2:56 PM on April 19, 2012


That whole industry is like a 10 cent hooker dressed up and thinking she's the Queen of England.

And all this time I've been paying 5 dollars for hookers to dress up like the queen of England.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:58 PM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]



This is just mind boggling on so many levels. Even if they didn't want to stop completely, the captain could have still launched one of the SAR zodiacs that the ship carries for this exact purpose and had the boat checked out and then radioed for help if the zodiac couldn't take all of the castaways back to the cruise ship for some reason. Just callous. And falsifying the log shows he knew he did wrong and tried to cover his tracks.


Now, it may turn out that at the time of the sighting the ship really was in radio contact with fishermen asking for a course change to avoid their nets.

I leave it to experienced mariner mefites to explain whether that would be a plausible explanation for ignoring three dudes in a non-moving small craft.
posted by ocschwar at 3:13 PM on April 19, 2012


Here is their latest statement.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 3:17 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"In March 2007, Two people, a 20 year-old and a 22 year-old (both reported to be intoxicated) fell off of their balcony stateroom (D308 on deck 9) the Grand Princess at 1:06AM CDT on March 25th 2007. As soon as the captain, Edward Perrin was notified, the ship was stopped and 2 lifeboats were lowered to search, while the ship was turned around and began to retrace its course"

Am I naive to hold out hope?
posted by Cosine at 3:33 PM on April 19, 2012


So, talked to my sister. She says the official internal story is that the incident is "under investigation".

She finds the whole thing weird; Since she's worked there Princess has had their ships change course to help other boats in distress.
posted by sideshow at 3:34 PM on April 19, 2012


So the cruise line says the captain wasn't told. If so, someone else on the ship thought it wasn't important enough to tell the captain. It could also be that that someone sent a message to the captain and the message was lost or not understood. It's a tragedy, but it may not be evil. We'll have to see once the authorities have investigated. I will withhold judgment until then.
posted by Triplanetary at 3:37 PM on April 19, 2012


I'm having trouble believing it's malice over incompetence. Anyone who works for a big company can attest to how many miscommunications happen on a daily basis. One would hope there would be a better procedure in this type of case, and I'll bet there will be in the future.
posted by desjardins at 3:46 PM on April 19, 2012


I'm having trouble believing it's malice over incompetence. Anyone who works for a big company can attest to how many miscommunications happen on a daily basis. One would hope there would be a better procedure in this type of case, and I'll bet there will be in the future.

Agree, and also someone who works for a big company and, because of that, would not have stopped until I had a face to face with the captain. I am not going to blame those witnesses however, they did what they thought they had to do and what they thought should have been enough, and it should have been.
posted by Cosine at 3:52 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The thing that keeps occurring to me is that people in an industry - any industry - who work with the public eventually develop a palpable disdain for the public. You get accosted by so many people with so many inane notions, that it wears on you.

Before I read KevinSkomsvold's link to the cruise lines statement, I was thinking the captain had just figured that people saw fishermen waving. Evidently he never got the message - though now that makes the log entry of "thankful fishermen" sort of odd. But let's put that aside for a moment.

I would bet heavily that some crew member figured hare brained passengers were misinterpreting events, and dismissed them out of hand.

Here's a piece of advice when, as a customer, you are dealing with customer service personnel. Always, always, always, get the the name of the person you are talking to. I make it a habit to ask at the end of the conversation, so the event remains fresh in the rep's mind, or if I recall the name, simply to use it when I thank them for helping me. This has the effect of motivating positive people with potential recognition; or motivating negative people with potential recognition.
posted by Xoebe at 4:23 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Since the captain said he communicated with the fisherman, I think it's likely that he encountered a second, larger, fishing boat with a radio around the same time. But it's a bit early to be placing blame in any case.
posted by Zot at 4:31 PM on April 19, 2012


Since the captain said he communicated with the fisherman, I think it's likely that he encountered a second, larger, fishing boat with a radio around the same time. But it's a bit early to be placing blame in any case.

I don't know much about fishing, maritime laws, cruise ships etc. But, this should be quite easy to check. If the Captain communicated with a fishing boat - after being alerted about a possibly distressed people seeking help - then he would surely have recorded the name of the fishing boat?

I find it hard to believe the version of ship's log as reported here:

Meredith says she was told that the Star Princess contacted the boat and "that they were asking the ship to move to the west, because they didn't want their nets to be damaged. And that the ship altered course. And they were waving their shirts because they were thanking the ship."

So, at the same time when there is a tiny boat in distress with people waving their shirts/vests for attention and help, there just happens to be another (fishing) boat in the same general area with people on board waving their shirts to thank the ship? What a fucking coincidence!
posted by vidur at 4:56 PM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


From the press release:

Princess Cruises deeply regrets that two Panamanian men perished at sea after their boat became disabled in early March. Since we became aware of this incident, we have been investigating circumstances surrounding the claim that Star Princess failed to come to the aid of the disabled boat, after a crew member was alerted by passengers.

The preliminary results of our investigation have shown that there appeared to be a breakdown in communication in relaying the passenger's concern. Neither Captain Edward Perrin nor the officer of the watch were notified. Understandably, Captain Perrin is devastated that he is being accused of knowingly turning his back on people in distress. Had the Captain received this information, he would have had the opportunity to respond.


I don't believe any of that. Fuck this noise.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:00 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Understandably, Captain Perrin is devastated that he is being accused of knowingly turning his back on people in distress

Also the dead people.
posted by Cosine at 5:13 PM on April 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


this is corporate policy.

Can't be, can it?

I was on a Carnival Cruise once, and we did indeed stop to assist a vessel in need of aid. In that case, it was a small boat which had run out of fuel. The occupants were taken on board and fed & given a medical check, then they were given enough fuel to get back to wherever they were going. We (the passengers) were informed of what was going on with regard to the delay, etc. (this was in 2007)

The captain in this case has some serious explaining to do.
posted by ShutterBun at 5:36 PM on April 19, 2012


From the article: Meredith says she was told that the Star Princess contacted the boat and "that they were asking the ship to move to the west, because they didn't want their nets to be damaged. And that the ship altered course. And they were waving their shirts because they were thanking the ship."

----------
From the press release: The preliminary results of our investigation have shown that there appeared to be a breakdown in communication in relaying the passenger's concern. Neither Captain Edward Perrin nor the officer of the watch were notified.
---------

I look forward to the discrepancies between these two statements being explained. Because someone is lying. And the passenger that reported the incident has no apparent motive to lie.

Either you knew about the boat, or you didn't, Captain.

But given that your ship was a mile away from a 10 foot skiff, it seems highly unlikely that the cruise ship would be any risk to the fishing nets cast out by the boat.

Further, if the emaciated fishermen had a radio, then they would thank you over the radio, not by ragged shirt semaphore.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:35 PM on April 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


The article says that a customer relations rep relayed the captain's log information to the passenger. I don't know much about how these logs are kept and accessed, but I was a little surprised at this. Is it typical for a representative to relay those sorts of details to former passengers?
posted by the other side at 7:27 PM on April 19, 2012


I was on a ferry to Alaska and we stopped by a mysterious fire that was burning in the middle of the night in the middle of absolutely noplace because the captain was concerned that there might be people in trouble. I can remember sitting on a totally quiet ferry (that I'd been on for a few days already) as we turned towards a fire burning on an otherwise totally dark and unoccupied coastline hoping that it wasn't some sort of weird "Let's rob all the people on that ferry" scam. Turns out it was just kids and we turned back around shortly thereafter. I'm really curious what the full story is here.
posted by jessamyn at 7:59 PM on April 19, 2012


Further, if the emaciated fishermen had a radio, then they would thank you over the radio, not by ragged shirt semaphore.


The cruise ship's crew may have mistaken them for fishermen who had left their mothership to go tend to a drift net. (The mothership being the one the cruise ship was talking to over the radio.)
posted by ocschwar at 8:09 PM on April 19, 2012


It seems like the whole story kinda hinges on whether or not the boat sighted by the birdwatchers was in fact the Fifty Cent. Vasquez didn't mention anything about seeing the cruise ships in his initial statements. The boat he was found in was originally described as 10 feet long, but the boat seen by the birdwatchers was said to be more like 26 feet long.

I'd be curious to see pictures of the Fifty Cent for comparison.
posted by ShutterBun at 8:09 PM on April 19, 2012


There's a picture of the Fifty Cent here (i.e., one of the ones that the bird watchers took), plus a close up of a similar boat.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:34 PM on April 19, 2012


The cruise ship's crew may have mistaken them for fishermen who had left their mothership to go tend to a drift net. (The mothership being the one the cruise ship was talking to over the radio.)

Hmm.. but how would the fishermen talk to their own unseen mothership? You know, to relay the information about a cruise ship about to mess with their nets. People died, perhaps due to someone's deliberate negligence. There needs to be a proper investigation.
posted by vidur at 1:08 AM on April 20, 2012


Hmm.. but how would the fishermen talk to their own unseen mothership? You know, to relay the information about a cruise ship about to mess with their nets. People died, perhaps due to someone's deliberate negligence. There needs to be a proper investigation.

Yes, a proper investigation to see which oif these happened.
posted by ocschwar at 5:02 AM on April 20, 2012


There's a picture of the Fifty Cent here

That is a picture of the boat that is alleged to be the Fifty Cent. I can't very well compare it to itself, can I?
posted by ShutterBun at 7:41 PM on April 20, 2012


ShutterBun: "It seems like the whole story kinda hinges on whether or not the boat sighted by the birdwatchers was in fact the Fifty Cent. Vasquez didn't mention anything about seeing the cruise ships in his initial statements. The boat he was found in was originally described as 10 feet long, but the boat seen by the birdwatchers was said to be more like 26 feet long."

I'm curious if that description might have been part of the malfunction. A 26' vessel would not have been as out of place that far out compared to an open 10' panga boat. Regardless, any inaccuracy on the part of birdwatcher's estimate of the size of the ship is absolutely no excuse, especially as the ships crew had an affirmative responsibility to respond to the obvious distress inherent in ragged shirt waving, and the apparent pervasive dishonesty.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:26 PM on April 20, 2012


That is a picture of the boat that is alleged to be the Fifty Cent. I can't very well compare it to itself, can I?

There is a close up picture of a boat of the same type as the Fifty Cent, as well as the picture of the boat alleged to be the Fifty Cent, taken from the cruise ship.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:13 AM on April 21, 2012


There is a close up picture of a boat of the same type as the Fifty Cent,

No, that is a close up picture of a boat that appears to be the same type that appears in the "photo of an unknown vessel" taken from the cruise ship.

See the difference? It's an important one.

Let's say that the Fifty Cent was a black automobile.

Someone on a bus bound for Vegas notices a black SUV stranded by the side of the road, and snaps a picture.

Later, a guy is found in a black vehicle out in the desert off I-15. He talks about his dead friends, how he had to survive but never gave up hope for a rescue, even though his friends had apparently despaired. He does not mention the tour bus at all.

He is later found in the desert in a "black car".

People on the tour bus begin to wonder if it's the same guy they passed. They think they saw an SUV, though. They state categorically that "if the guy that was found was in a car, that wasn't the same guy."

Later, news agencies publish somewhat blurry photos of what looks, for all intents and purposes, like an SUV.

Pictures of the SUV taken from the bus are shown to the survivor, who adds details that are, regrettably, fully viewable to anyone looking at the picture.

The same news agencies claim that SUV's are common on the road to Vegas, and just to prove it, here is a picture of an SUV.

See what I mean? Let's see a picture of the boat he was rescued from, not an alleged boat or a "boat that looks just like the boat we think the witnesses saw."

Show me a photo that says "this is the Fifty Cent, as you can see from the insignia. Obviously it is the same boat in the birdwatcher's photos" (or at least not incompatible with it)

I know t's a lot to ask, but we're talking about some pretty serious charges here, no?
posted by ShutterBun at 12:40 AM on April 21, 2012


Show me a photo that says "this is the Fifty Cent, as you can see from the insignia. Obviously it is the same boat in the birdwatcher's photos" (or at least not incompatible with it)

If I could do that, I would have. I am not arguing with you on your point, and I, frankly, have nothing to prove to you. You asked for a picture - I saw something that I thought approached your request. So I alerted you to it.

No need to be patronising.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:02 AM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I apologize for the patronizing tone. By the time I saw your response, I had seen that particular photo so many times that I of course assumed that you knew exactly what I was talking about even though I didn't make myself terribly clear. Anyway, I apologize for any insult (which I probably intended on some juvenile level) but the request still stands.

As of now we have no comparative picture of the Fifty Cent, amidst a whole lot of really serious accusations. It would seem that "here is a picture of the boat he was rescued from" alongside "here is a picture that was taken from the cruise ship" would be a slam-dunk, and yet we've not seen it yet. I gues I shouldn't go so far as to call it a "curious situation," but I sure as hell am curious about it.
posted by ShutterBun at 6:40 AM on April 21, 2012


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