PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. - Over the loudspeaker on the MSC Meraviglia, passengers traveling from Cozumel, Mexico to Port Canaveral heard a crew member alerting them that the cruise ship would be stopping to help people floating at sea on a makeshift raft.
An MSC spokesperson sent us this statement, which read, "MSC Meraviglia encountered a boat in distress Saturday while returning from Cozumel, Mexico to Port Canaveral. Our crew notified the United States Coast Guard and started a rescue operation immediately. All 24 of the boat’s occupants are now on board MSC Meraviglia, where they were checked by medical personnel and provided accommodations until the ship reaches Port Canaveral. The 24 who were rescued disembarked once the ship docked on Sunday morning. Any further questions should be directed to the Coast Guard."
Once the ship arrived in Port Canaveral, the U.S. Coast Guard said it turned them over to U.S. Border Protection.
A boat from the MSC Meraviglia rescues migrants at sea, Jan. 14, 2023. [Credit: Sharon Phillips]
This is the latest cruise ship rescue FOX 35 has reported on in the last few months. Back in October, we spoke with a passenger on board another MSC cruise ship who saw a similar rescue at sea.
Cuban migrants often sail on makeshift boats and rafts in a desperate attempt to flee their country because they are afraid of the future of the government.
Earlier this month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis activated the Florida National Guard to respond to a flood of mostly Cuban migrants arriving by boat IN southern Florida.
On Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard tweeted, saying it sent 82 people back to Cuba. New numbers released show nearly 5,000 Cubans have been stopped by the Coast Guard since October 1st, compared to around 800 in 2021 and just 49 in 2020.