The Carnival Sunrise cruise ship rescued several refugees on Friday while heading back to Florida towards the end of its Caribbean cruise. Passengers were surprised to see the small boat with several refugees who needed help and were brought aboard the Sunshine-class vessel. It comes following many recent rescues in the Caribbean by other ships in the fleet.
Carnival Sunshine Rescue
Passengers were met with an eventual final sea day on Friday when the Carnival Sunrise came to the rescue of several refugees on a small makeshift boat. The cruise line has released no details, but passengers have posted about the rescue that took place off the coast of Cuba in the Caribbean.
There were approximately seven refugees in what appeared to be a small boat with a makeshift sail. The ship’s captain apparently stopped and picked up the refugees, who were trying to get to South Florida from Cuba.
Often in these situations, the refugees will be checked over by the onboard medical team and provided water and food. In many cases, the cruise ship will wait for the US Coast Guard to take over and rescue the refugees.
When it encountered the small boat, Carnival Sunshine was en route back to its homeport of PortMiami in Florida. The ship is scheduled to arrive back home in the US on New Year’s Eve, December 31, in the morning.
The Carnival cruise ship is ending a five-night Western Caribbean cruise that included a call to Ocho Rios in Jamaica on December 28 and George Town in Grand Cayman.
The following voyage will depart the cruise capital of the world on a New Year’s sailing on Saturday afternoon. The five-night itinerary includes a visit to Nassau on New Year’s Day, followed by the private destination of Princess Cays on January 2, and then Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos on January 3, 2023, before arriving back in Miami on January 5.
Recent Carnival Rescues
It’s not uncommon for cruise ships to spot refugees or assist in rescue operations while at sea. In recent months, several ships have come across refugees needing help in the Caribbean.
One of the most recent operations involving a Carnival cruise ship was in September 2022, when the Carnival Horizon rescued refugees on a small boat drifting near Cuba. However, not everyone wants to be rescued by a cruise ship, which was the case in October 2022, when the Carnival Horizon again offered to assist approximately ten people in a small boat.
Cruise Hive last reported a rescue in mid-December 2022 when Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas spotted a small boat southwest of Key West, Florida, that was taking on water with more than 20 people onboard.
It is the law and maritime tradition for a cruise ship to assist anyone distressed at sea. This is part of The Safety Of Life At Sea agreements (SOLAS) and the 1982 United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea. No doubt there will be more similar situations through 2023 as more cruise ships than ever sail the Caribbean.