Carnival cruise ship rescues 12 adrift near Key West
Carnival Sunrise was on its way back to Miami on Friday evening, July 29, 2022, when a small boat with 12 refugees was spotted adrift in the Florida Straits, south of Key West. The cruise ship brought the men on board and contacted authorities for assistance.
Cuban refugees rescued
According Local 10 Newsthe incident happened Friday evening around 7:30 p.m. The small rowboat with the 12 men was spotted, as the men, believed to be Cuban refugees, were trying to get the ship’s attention by waving.
Carnival Sunrise was en route to Miami at the end of a 5-night Western Caribbean round trip, which departed Florida on July 25 and visited Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman. The route of the ship completely covered Cuba.
The men are embarked Carnival Sunrise, and the cruise ship alerted the United States Coast Guard (USCG) of the situation. On Friday night, as the cruise ship continued to PortMiami, the vessel encountered USCG Cutter Dauntless and transferred men to their authority.
This is standard procedure in these circumstances. Intrepid has participated in several such rescues between Florida and Cuba in recent weeks and, on July 30, repatriated 83 Cubans to Cuba following these interdictions.
“Sailing the seas in an unseaworthy vessel is dangerous and may result in loss of life,” said Coast Guard District Seven Lt. Connor Ives. “Our crews are diligently patrolling the area to prevent people from losing their lives in these dangerous attempts.”
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all refugees are provided with adequate food, water, shelter and basic medical care. After the rescue and transfer of refugees, Carnival Sunrise returned to Miami without delaying its arrival on Saturday morning.
Salvage and assistance of cruise ships
Cruise ships are often part of rescues at sea, not only for refugees stranded in unstable small craft, but also for private sailors who may be stuck or incapacitated.
Carnival cruise ships have been involved in several such rescues in 2022. The cruise line‘s flagship, Mardi Gras, rescued four adults from a small rowboat on June 30and early June, rescued 16 people from a small rowboat in rough seas.
Both rescues took place near Cuba, as did another incident when Mardi Gras offered assistance to a small motorboat by providing food and fuel to the occupants. During this incident, what happened at the end of january, the cruise ship did not board the refugees, as their ship was deemed safe. It was believed that this boat of refugees was heading for Mexico.
Other cruise lines and ships have also been involved in refugee rescue and other assistance scenarios at sea.
Celebrity Summit rescued three people from a small raft near Cuba in late Februaryand Carnival Magic rescued a sailboat stranded off Port Canaveral in early April. Royal Caribbean International Allure of the Seas responded to a distress call from a small vessel near Cuba in late May, providing assistance until the Coast Guard arrived.
In the case of Carnival Magic, it was not a refugee situation, but rather a mechanical problem with the private sailor’s boat. In the same way, Allure of the Seas‘ assistance was given to a small fishing boat rather than a refugee boat.
According to Coast Guard figures, rescues at sea are significantly higher than in previous years. So far in the current fiscal year (the calendar used for tracking), USGS crews have interdicted – prevented illegal immigration – 3,683 Cubans. There are still two months left in the fiscal year, which ends on September 30.
In the previous five years combined, less than 3,000 Cuban refugee interdictions were intercepted by the Coast Guard.