Leaders Can Save Lives

I believe that bad leadership can kill people.  Leaders can also save lives…when they want to.

Last month a Princess Cruises ship passed by a stranded fishing boat floating 130 miles off the Caribbean coast.  The boat had three dehydrated young men in it.

The next day two of them died.


Passengers alerted crew about the boat.  A crew member confirmed the sighting.  The bridge was called.  The leader could have saved lives.

Yet, the ship kept on going.


The captain claims he thought the men were waving to thank him for avoiding them.  I’m calling BS.

I’m also calling on everyone to never forget that our society depends on all of us valuing human life.

The passengers who reported the boat, the crew that called it in, and the Princess Cruises captain all slept while two young men died that night.

If you can lift someone up.  Lift them.

If you can save someone’s life.  Do it.

Let’s care for strangers tonight,


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Published by Aaron Biebert

I'm a director, film/video exec producer, leader & 8pm Warrior. I am passionately chasing my goals at all times. I'm listening. Let's talk!

22 comments on “Leaders Can Save Lives”

  1. I have a hard time agreeing with anyone’s judgement about the captain. Only he knows what he thought. People make huge mistakes every day. I do. The worst thing in life is to be shown your weaknesses and shortcomings by another human being. If I had the chance, I’d want to sit with him and talk. I’d let him explain. But in the end I know that even if he admitted that his choice had cost lives, the one thing I’d want to give him was hope for forgiveness. 
    I”d want to save him from crippling self-loathing that can set in when the world thinks that they understand, but don’t.
    If anything, he needs a friend.
    Thank you Aaron. Don’t mean to be a downer. 

    1. Betsy, I always love your thoughts, even if we have differing perspectives. That’s what this blog is all about.

      I had similar thoughts at first, but then realized how many people watched that boat disappear over the horizon.

      Not acceptable in my book.

      I like to hold leaders acceptable and I personally think he should feel badly. People are dead.

      1. Of  course he would feel badly. That’s my point. Feeling badly can be a personal hell that people should never intentionally add to. Accidents and poor judgement are  everywhere, every day. Where is forgiveness?

        1. Forgiveness comes easily and graciously after repentance and penance.

          Imagine the despair of those who died – they watched human beings pass them by in their agony and leave them to death’s hunger.

          Imagine their joy when they first saw the great ship. And then their tears and sinking hearts as the ship disappeared in the distance.

          1. I agree.  Plus, I don’t think this guy is going to read my post.  If I thought he would read it, I might think twice about posting this.  I don’t want to pile on.

            This post was meant for discussion and learning.  Not piling on him.  Others were at fault too and I’m always willing to forgive.However, he doesn’t seem sorry.  He is making excuses.If he honestly doesn’t think he did anything wrong, then he will shrug this off anyway.

          2. According to this line of reasoning each of us who walks by a homeless person without giving him a meal , or watches a starving child in a tv commercial and doesn’t donate their daily coffee to help is doing the same thing. Who knows but that we are those persons only hope passing by. Just a thought to contemplate.

        2.  Betsy, the least the sleepy captain needed to do would be get on his 2-way radio and talk to a dispatcher to get these guys some help. Nothing more, nothing less. That captain should be chucked overboard along with the sharks.

  2. As a sailor, I find this unacceptable! You always stop to help.  We must call the Coast Guard or tow in a boat in trouble 3 or 4 times a year.  I like your comment – if you can, you should!

  3. Only those who are ignorant of every sailor’s obligation to render assistance will debate this incident. Those of us who know, know that this captain and his crew failed these men who needed their assistance. The loss of their lives is the reason that we are obligated to render assistance. But, everybody wants cheap: a cheap TV, a cheap computer, a cheap phone, a cheap cruise. Now you know that you get what you pay for, making the passengers at fault, though not so much so as the captain and his crew. BTW, under Admiralty Law, crewman share the blame.

  4. What The… I can’t believe a Captain would do this! Would love to say a few words to this so called Captain…

  5. As Aaron suggests, we reflect on this story of the Princess Star (Carnival/Princess Cruise Ship) and the adrift fishing boat in search of insight about leadership. There is a leader in the story, however, her name is Judy Meredith. 

    On the other hand, Captain Edward Perrin of England, who was in command of the Star Princess cruise ship at the time of the sighting of the distressed fishing boat, may be an example of the false leadership and corporate betrayal of humanity – of which we all tire and despair. 

    It is reported that Captain Perrin made an entry in his log about the event that is misleading and false. In addition, Carnival’s corporate statements on the matter do not corroborate the events reported by passengers concerned about the distressed fishing boat or the story of lone survivor, Adrian Vasquez.

    This was not a communication mix up.

    It seems that corporate interest trumped maritime law and human compassion. People were left to die.

    Here’s some background information:




    Betsy provides us with an interesting parallel and question. If we cast judgment on the Captain, what about when we walk past a homeless person, are we not guilty ourselves?

    We are not guilty by maritime law as is Captain Perrin, but we may be guilty in conscience. Myself, I am guilty and I can confess it here and now. It would be a greater error to say it is not wrong to ignore others in need. Unlike Captain Perrin who is “shocked” by his accusers, I ask you to forgive me for my lack of humanity and virtue.

    On the other hand, I do not remember a time when someone has come to me and told me that I can provide aid in an emergency and I did not.

    1. Wonder why Carnival seems to be the center of all the latest disasters?  Maybe they have a problem in their corporate culture.

      As for walking past someone that needs help, I’ve done it.  Just last week, I was in the passenger seat of a car and saw a lady in the ditch on the freeway.  We could have turned around and come back at the next exit.  The driver and I figured she had a cell phone.
      What if she didn’t.

      This lesson is something we can all learn from.

      Great comment Stan.  I really appreciate the time you spent on it.

      1. What kind of leaders are WE is my question? Truly         great leaders learn to apply true principles in and for their organizations in order to form a brotherhood. One that works together towards a common goal. When we throw one person under the bus the 99 are watching and learning what the company is all about. 
        I am one of the 99. I’m watching and learning, too. Would my story play out on social media, too? Someday it will. 

  6. Aaron, thanks for making us all more mindful of our neighbors and those in need. The leader’s responsibility is huge. We lead PEOPLE. We set examples and serve as role models. Sometimes we are not the role models we would like to be, or we should be. 

    Colleagues have asked me in the past how stressful I find being on the administrative side of medicine (often seen as the enemy of the doctoring role). For someone like myself, whose medical training brought me face to face with imminent death in critically ill children for more than 2 decades, my response is usually that I am less likely to make a mistake that will cost someone their life in my administrative work than in my doctor work. But maybe that is not so true. Thanks for giving us the time to reflect on our roles in life. 

    Thanks for being human.

    1. Alice, you are very welcome.  I needed it myself too.

      I think we all need reminders of how important we are to others.  

      Thanks for the great comment.  I love the encouragement.

  7. I understand all your anger, and this is truly an awful situation.

    However I think it is essential to set some facts straight.

    Clearly something went drastically wrong, resulting in the cruise ship sailing past the small boat and not stopping to rescue them.

    However, I’m not sure of your sources, but I can confirm that they are categorically incorrect. Guests on the ship informed a member of the ship’s staff about the castaways, and this should of course have been relayed immediately to the Captain (Captain Perrin).

    This line of communication failed and no senior members of the ship were ever made aware of the sightings. 

    Captain Perrin seems to be bearing the brunt of an awful lot of hate, and whilst it could be argued that as the head of the ship he was ultimately responsible, I do not feel he can legitimately be blamed for the situation, since he was never made aware of it. 

    The claim that he sailed past the castaways thinking they were waving has no basis in fact whatsoever.

    In fact, Captain Perrin has been commended for excellent shipwork in rescuing overboards in the past, and is renowned for being an extremely moral captain. 

    Please refrain from personal attacks on ANY member of the crew without knowing the true facts. 

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