MEXICO – Sixteen reported Cuban migrants in a makeshift raft were picked up by Carnival cruise ship workers in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, according to U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios.
The cruise is a “Legends of Pittsburgh” themed trip featuring athletes and musicians that is traveling from Miami to Key West to Cozumel, Mexico.
“The person who broke the story was a passenger on the cruise ship” and was not involved in the rescue, Rios said, referring to Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison who posted photos of the rescue to his Instagram page.
Rios said rescues like this, while not frequent, are not out of the ordinary either.
“It’s going to happen maybe once every couple of months,” Rios said.
Earlier this month, a Disney cruise ship picked up 12 reported migrants.
“We have really good relationships with the cruise ships, we have an agreement that if they come across any migrants and they can safely embark them they will do so. They call it in and let us know. As per protocol, they take the migrants and take them to the next port of call where immigration is waiting for them,” Rios said.
The Carnival Sensation, which can house 2,000 cruise goers and 930 crew members, was due in Cozumel on Saturday afternoon.