On 10 March, a group of birdwatchers - including one from Ireland - were on the deck of the Star Princess on a cruise around South America when they spotted a "moderate-sized boat with a person standing up in it, waving a dark piece of cloth", according to birder Jeff Gilligan.
He had spotted Adrian Vasquez, the only survivor of the three-man fishing boat that went adrift in the Pacific hundreds of miles from its home port in Panama.
The birdwatchers say they immediately notified staff who related their concerns to the ship's bridge, but they were dismayed when the cruise ship failed to change course to attempt a rescue.
One of the birdwatchers, Judy Meredith, says she was told upon returning home that the Star Princess had contacted the fishing boat in question and that no rescue was required.
But days later the story emerged from Ecuador that its coastguard had retrieved a small fishing boat with one survivor who had lasted 28 days at sea.
Vasquez was eventually rescued near the Galapagos Islands on 22 March, 12 days after the encounter with the Star Princess.
Tracked down in Panama by an American reporter, Vasquez confirmed that he was the man in the boat as photographed by the birders from the deck of the Star Princess.
Princess Cruises, the Carnival-owned operator of the Star Princess, has denied that the captain nor anyone on the bridge was made aware of the situation at the time, and blamed a "breakdown in communications" for the incident.
However, Irish birdwatcher Jim Dowdall told The Guardian that the company's exlplanation didn't "stack up".
"How does a junior officer phone the bridge and come to look two times and there's no communications?" he said. "Whoever the officer on the bridge was should have taken action himself or alerted the captain."
NPR News has more on the story HERE.