The Carnival Ecstasy cruise ship saved 41 Cuban migrants Tuesday traveling in a cramped raft in the waters of the Florida Straits.
The overloaded vessel was spotted by the captain and was immediately pulled into safety.
One Carnival crew member told CBS 4 News: “There were women and children onboard. There were a lot of them on there for a very small raft.”
The witness also added that the travelers appeared to be in distress.
The migrants were soon transported to a U.S. Coast Guard ship with no reported injuries.
A Coast Guard spokesman said that the fate of the migrants didn’t look too promising and thankfully the Ecstasy was there to save the day.
“This could’ve been a real tragedy,” Gabe Somma reported to Reuters. “There was no lifesaving or navigation equipment and the boat was taking on water.”
Carnival’s spokesperson said that the cruise ship had started their journey from Key West, Florida and was en route to Cozumel, Mexico.
The Ecstasy was already carrying over 2,000 passengers when they decided to add to their vessel’s capacity.
There have been plenty other occasions when a cruise ship has unexpectedly picked up Cuban voyagers.
Many usually look for refuge in Central America, the Caribbean islands, or Florida in an attempt to escape their communist country.
A Carnival ship earlier this month plucked 24 migrants from a wooden boat near the Cayman Islands.
Last April, the Carnival Conquest and the Disney Wonder rescued 21 Cuban migrants on stricken boats in two separate incidents in the Florida Straits.
This has been an ongoing episode that really grabbed the attention of the American government in the 1990s.
Tuesday’s refugees will most likely never set foot on U.S. soil.
According to the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy, “Cubans who manage to set foot on U.S. soil may remain in the country while those who are intercepted at sea must be returned to the communist-ruled island.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons