Not only was the Royal Caribbean passenger cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, busy providing a pleasurable crew to its 2,000 plus passengers this past week, the Oasis of the Seas was busy making a rescue of Cuban rafters while the vessel was on its way back to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
The passengers on the cruise ship watched in amazement as a small raft carrying seven individuals, consisting of six men and one woman, was plowing through the deep blue seas.
The rafters were heading towards the finish line representing freedom here in America. According to United States policy, the rafters would have had to reach dry land before they could seek asylum. The cruise ship rescue of the rafters resulted in the individuals being turned over to the United States Coast Guard, and based on last reports, were still in the custody of United States Coast Guard.
United States Coast Guard might want to consider employing Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to assist in picking up Cuban rafters before they hit dry land as another Royal Caribbean Cruise ship, the Allure of the Seas, rescued nine Cuban rafters in May.
It is quite a site to watch a 220 thousand plus ton ship rescue individuals in a small raft out in the open seas.
The recent rescue of the rafters was described by a passenger who said that the rafters were bailing out water from the raft and praying. I am not sure if their prayers were answered by the 220 thousand plus ton cruise ship or not as the rafters clearly wanted to complete their journey to dry land and seek asylum. However, if the rafters were bailing out water as reported by a passenger, and about to sink, they surely must believe in God when the prayers were answered by a huge cruise ship suddenly appearing and rescuing them, and providing them with food, water and medical treatment.
In the end one feels sorry though for the rafters who were so close to their freedom. The United States Cuban Immigration accord is referred to as the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy, which means that if the Cubans can reach American shores they can stay in the United States while those who are caught at sea are sent back to Cuba or a third world country.
Our firm continues to be safety advocates for passengers and crewmembers who are injured at sea.