Earlier this week the Disney Wonder was involved in another incident where it picked up Cuban rafters at sea trying to sail to South Florida.  This was the third such incident where a cruise ship stopped rafters at sea in the last ten days.

You can read about the prior case involving the the Disney Wonder here, and a prior incident involving the Carnival Conquest here.   

Some people call these type of incidents "rescues" but the fact is that unless Cuban migrants reach dry land, they are transported back to Cuba and often end up in one of Castro’s jails. I call them "interceptions." Watch the video below where it appears that the rafters were not in distress and do not appear to have been wanted to be "rescued" by the Disney cruise ship. You can watch the video here.

  • I agree – these are vessels doing AMIO work for the USCG.

  • Tim

    This is not a simple topic. I have seen up close and personal the “vessels” used by Cuban refugees to try to reach dry land and satisfy the “dry foot” policy. It is an understatement to say many of the vessels are not sea worthy. Add to that the number of people they pack on the vessels and in many instances the lack of navigational capabilities and food/water due to the amount of time they spend drifting at sea and you have a very dangerous situation. We have no idea how many of these brave people die in the attempt to flee the oppression. These refugees are likely well informed about the need to reach dry land and not a cruise ship. Yet, I don’t recall seeing any cruise passenger video where the refugees are struggling to avoid getting on the ship. I’m sure it happens, but it doesn’t seem to be prevalent. This is because by the time they are found by a cruise ship, they are out of supplies and tired of being battered by the ocean and baked by the sun. As much as I hope these folks can reach their desired freedom, I believe cruise ships have no choice but to pick them up. If a cruise ship did NOT pick up a raft of refugees who subsequently ended up dying we would be blaming the cruise line. Once a cruise ship picks up the refugees, I don’t see where they have a choice but to turn them over to the Coast Guard. I encourage you to visit Fort Jefferson at The Dry Tortugas where some of the refugees successfully reach dry land and look at they “vessels” they use… Call ahead to make sure there are some there because they let them accumulate for a while before removing from the island and disposing them… it is very sad and eye opening to see how some will risk their lives to flee Cuba.