Cruise Lawsuit

(CNN) -- An 18-year-old Panamanian fisherman who survived 28 days stranded at sea is suing Princess Cruise Lines, arguing that a cruise ship should have stopped and saved him.

A negligence lawsuit filed in Florida last week says the behavior of officers or crew members of the Star Princess was "outrageous and, under the circumstances, so beyond all bounds of decency as to be regarded as shocking, atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community."

Three passengers who were bird-watching on the ship alerted a crew member when they spotted Adrian Vasquez and his companions signaling for help from their fishing boat, the suit says.

Even though crew members "had clear knowledge that people were stranded in an open boat hundreds of miles from shore in the Pacific Ocean and desperately calling for their help," the suit says, "they consciously ignored the emergency situation and did not deviate from their cruise."

After the boat passed, two of Vasquez's companions perished at sea. Their boat, "Fifty Cents," had been adrift for 15 days when it crossed paths with the "Star Princess," according to the lawsuit. At the time, all three fishermen were alive.

Vasquez's lawsuit seeks compensation for physical, emotional and psychological injuries that it alleges he suffered as a result of the conduct of cruise line employees.

In a statement Monday, Princess Cruises said it was "deeply saddened that two Panamanian men perished at sea" and "very sorry for the tragic loss of life."

The company said it was still investigating the incident.

"Because of what we suspect was a case of unfortunate miscommunication, regretfully the Captain of the Star Princess was never notified of the passengers' concern. Had he been advised, he would have had the opportunity to respond, as he has done numerous times throughout his career," the statement said. "This is an upsetting and emotional issue for us all, as no employee onboard a Princess ship would purposefully ignore someone in distress. It is our ethical and maritime responsibility to provide assistance to any vessel in need, 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 over the last decade."

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