The Disney Wonder picked up a group of 12 Cuban suspected migrants southeast of Cuba around 8:00pm on Saturday, February 13. They were brought onboard the cruise ship and were going to be handed over to authorities in Grand Cayman, the ship’s next port of call. U.S. Coast Guard 7th District spokesman Jon-Paul Rios said they were found on a “rustic” vessel, a term used by authorities to describe dangerous, unseaworthy vessels.
The Coast Guard was not sure if the migrants had been attempting to get to the U.S. or not. There has been an increase in Cuban migrants attempting to enter the U.S., both by land and sea, presumably because it’s believed that immigration policies allowing Cubans into the U.S. will be changing soon. There have been more than 120 Cuban migrants that have landed in the Cayman Islands since January.
Rios said it’s common for cruise ships to pick up migrants while at sea and that the ships have agreements to get in touch with the U.S. Coast Guard and then drop them off at the next port of call.
The Disney Wonder also picked up 8 migrants in 2013 who were stranded on a raft 45 miles from Key West.
News source: CNN
Photo credit: CNN (2013 rescue near Key West)