A group of Cuban migrants on a makeshift raft were rescued by a cruise ship. The Carnival Cruise liner, Carnival Paradise sailed from Tampa, Florida to Cozumel, Mexico.
A video shared with CNN shows crew members handing the migrants blankets, a change of clothes, food and water before handing them over to the U.S. coast guard. In the video, passengers can be seen clapping and cheering as migrants got on the cruise ship.
The precarious quality of the makeshift boat was also noticed by many online. “They didn’t have paddles,” said passenger Cintia Zingoni, who filmed the video. “It wasn’t really a boat. It was a piece of furniture, maybe a cabinet and they made it as a boat.”
The dangerous 100-mile trip in unsafe “boats” seems to be more and more common among Cubans. Many are risking their lives and fleeing the economic crises in Cuba. Cuban migrants arriving in Florida arrive to uncertain asylum seeking- futures. “I would prefer to die to reach my dream and help my family. The situation in Cuba is not very good,” Jeiler del Toro Diaz told The Miami Herald shortly after coming ashore Tuesday in Key Largo.
Read on to find out more.
One passenger aboard, Cinta Zingoni, shared what she saw from the cruise ship with CNN. In her video, it is clear that the migrants are using a piece of fabric as a sail and a pot lid as a paddle.
The migrants were welcomed on board and received medical check-ups, food and clothes. When the cruise ship arrived in Cozumel, Mexico, the Cuban migrants were turned over to Mexican officials.
This event marks a spike in Cubans fleeing the island in the hope for a better quality of living that many blame on the U.S. sanctions. According to Forbes reports, The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, representing the southwestern tip of Florida in addition to the Florida Keys, said more than 160 migrants landed along the middle and upper islands over the weekend, claiming a “mass migration crisis” was occurring.
The viral video
In regards to the video, Zingoni shares her emotions when noticing the migrants stark contrast to the passengers on the cruise ship. She says “I felt sad. Everyone on the boat was dancing and having fun and they were dying,”. She continues to add “That was almost a suicide mission to go inside that piece of wood.”
Carnival Cruise Line
The Carnival Celebration crew members contacted the U.S. Coast Guard, after rescuing the Cuban migrants, which took them into custody offshore according to Matt Lupoli, a spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Line.
“The ship resumed on its voyage with its scheduled itinerary unaffected and Carnival Celebration returned to Miami on Tuesday morning after a week-long Caribbean cruise,” Lupoli said in an email statement shared by AP News.