The American cruise company Princess Cruises says that it deeply regrets that one of its ships failed to stop to help a fishing boat that was adrift in the Pacific Ocean.
Three birdwatchers on board the cruise ship said that they had spotted the fishermen waving for help and told ship staff, but could not persuade them to change course.
In a statement, Princess Cruises said that although passengers on the Star Princess had spotted the castaways and alerted staff, the captain had not been told.
The BBC reports that two of the three Panamanians on board the fishing boat later died. The one surviving fisherman, Adrian Vasquez (pictured above), 18, was later rescued 1,000km (620 miles) off the mainland, near the Galapagos Islands, after 28 days at sea.
He said that he survived after his friends died thanks to a sudden rainstorm that gave him fresh drinking water supplies.
He reported that, after 16 days adrift, he and his companions saw a cruise ship sailing past and made desperate attempts to flag it down, but it did not stop for them.
Princess Cruises said that a preliminary investigation had found that there had been a "breakdown in communication" in passing on the passengers' concerns.
It is said that the Captain, Edward Perrin, and the officer of the watch were not notified.
The statement said: "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."
Princess Cruises added that it understood its responsibility under the law of the sea to help any vessel in distress, and said that its ships had been involved in more than 30 rescues in the last decade.
Adrian Vasquez told the Associated Press that he was still angry that the ship sailed past him and his friends, two weeks before he was rescued.
"I said 'God will not forgive them'", he said.
Click on the image below for our pick of the best cruises of 2012...
Pick of the best: Cruises 2012
Cruise ship ignored castaway boat in the middle of the Pacific
The Disney Fantasy sails at regular intervals from Port Canaveral, Florida on seven-night Caribbean itineraries that alternate eastern (St. Maarten and St. Thomas) and western (Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel). All itineraries will include a stop at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. Visit disneycruise.com for details. Rates for a seven-night Caribbean cruise on the Disney Fantasy start at £692 per person for a standard stateroom, based on double occupancy.
Star Clippers is running outdoor yoga cruises with twice-daily sessions on various itineraries including Hamburg to Oslo on Star Flyer for seven nights from £1,490pp. All prices are full board, with yoga and lectures and port charges. Flights extra. Visit starclippers.co.uk.
That fear of the drinks bill may be a thing of the past now that Crystal Cruises has launched a new all-inclusive package on Crystal Symphony. Complimentary drinks range from fine wines such as Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay to Grey Goose vodka with pre-paid gratuities. Crystal Serenity follows suit with her 16-night transatlantic sailing on 8 May from New York to Dover - £4,111pp all-inclusive in a deluxe stateroom with picture window including one-way flight to New York and transfers. Visit crystalcruises.co.uk
Oceania Cruises has added four new departures this summer with $500 credit per stateroom. The Nautica departs 24th May from Barcelona to Copenhagen, 16 nights from £1349pp (saving £1829 pp). Cruise from Barcelona around the coast of Spain and Portugal, calling into Casablanca, Bruges, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Prices include all meals, complimentary soft drinks. Excludes flights. Visit www.oceaniacruises.com
Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Constellation has announced a new 12-night cruise departing Southampton on 7 September. It calls at Paris, Bordeaux, Bilbao, Vigo and Porto before returning to Southampton. From £702 pp with meals and entertainment onboard and all cruise taxes/fees. Departs 7 September 2012. Visit celebritycruises.co.uk.
Royal Caribbean International’s Adventure of the Seas has a new 14-night Mediterranean Cities cruise departing Southampton on 7 July and calling at Malaga, Cannes, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Cartagena and Lisbon before arriving into Vigo. From £1,199pp with meals and entertainment and all relevant cruise taxes/fees. Visit royalcaribbean.co.uk.
The Carnival Breeze launches in June with a seven-night Mediterranean cruise featuring a rum bar, cinema, comedy club, nightclub, 10 restaurants including sushi and a Mongolian BBQ station and kids activities. Leave on 19 September stopping at Monaco, Rome, Sardinia, Dubrovnik and Venice before returning to Barcelona. From £889pp full board including return flights from London to Barcelona with British Airways. Visit carnivalcruise.co.uk.
In August 2012, Quark Expeditions is running its first Arctic family cruise. The Spitsbergen Polar Bear Safari is an eight-day adventure which takes full advantage of the continuous daylight of the Arctic summer to spot and learn about wildlife including polar bears and walrus. With photography workshops and extra activities including Arctic kayaking. Sail on the Akademik Sergey Vavilov from £3420 per adult and £2,430 for children up to 17. Visit quarkexpeditions.com.
2012 sees Thomson Cruises launch its Platinum Cruise range for the discerning cruiser. Restaurants cabins, bars and spas onboard the Thomson Dream and Thomson Celebration are being completely refurbished. First sailing of the Dream departs on 9 December 2012, departing from Lisbon and sailing to Venezuela, Tobago, Grenada, St Lucia, British Virgin Islands, St Lucia, St Kitts and finishing in Barbados. Prices: 14 nights from £1,599 per person. Visit thomson.co.uk/cruise.
Royal Caribbean International’s Adventure of the Seas has a new 12-night Baltic cruise departing Southampton on 31 May and calling at Oslo, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Helsinki with an overnight stay in historic St. Petersburg. From £999pp with meals and entertainment on board and all relevant cruise taxes/fees. Visit royalcaribbean.co.uk.