Imagine being lost at sea, and watching a friend die of exposure and thirst. Sick and weak, and growing worse by the minute. The hunger and terror must have been extreme, with nothing to think about other than inevitable death. Death may even start to look good after suffering for sixteen days. This is what happened to Adrian Vasquez.
Then his dreams were answered, or so he thought.
A cruise ship passed by, and the stranded men waved a red sweater. They felt good that they had likely established contact, and clung to this hope while they waited. And waited. They were correct, passengers had seen them and told staff there were men afloat who needed help. However, due to a "breakdown in communication" that information was never relayed to the captain. So nothing was ever done.
Vasquez is suing, and he has a hell of a point. An employee of the cruise line decided to sit on that information, and led to the death of at least one man. To work at sea is to understand the most common rule: when someone is stranded, you freaking help them.
To die believing help is on the way is a horrible fate. To wonder why help isn't coming would be torture as you feel your body wither and give up. I don't have what it takes to survive that, I imagine few people do. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in court. I do not know how the enforcement works, or what obligations a vessel has to the stranded.