News and Facts about Cuba

Florida-bound Cuban migrants rescued after 22 days at sea, a journey that killed nine

Florida-bound Cuban migrants rescued after 22 days at sea, a journey
that killed nine
Associated Press

Nine Cuban migrants died at sea and 18 were rescued by a cruise ship
after their 30-foot boat was found about 130 miles from the Florida
coast, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The migrants were severely dehydrated when they were found Friday and
said they had been at sea 22 days. The bodies of those who didn’t make
it were placed overboard, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Mark Barney.
The survivors were in bad condition.

“They could barely walk off the vessel itself,” Barney said. “They were
weak and they were shaking.”

The rescue by the Royal Caribbean ship took place about 130 miles west
of Marco Island in southwest Florida. The migrants were in a “rustic”
boat that was about 30 feet long, Barney said.

They were found by the cruise ship Brilliance of the Seas. Royal
Caribbean reported the event to the Coast Guard and made the decision to
bring the migrants to its next port of call, which was Cozumel, Mexico.

The rescue comes as Obama travels to Cuba to meet with
President on a 2½-day visit that begins Sunday. The visit is
part of Obama’s efforts to normalize relations with Cuba. While the U.S.
has eased restrictions to the island, many Cubans still risk
their lives to reach the United States.

“The Coast Guard has observed a steady increase in maritime
migration attempts from Cuba to the southeastern U.S. since the U.S.
announcement of normalized diplomatic relations with Cuba in December
2014,” the Coast Guard said in a news release. Last month, 269 Cuban
migrants attempted to reach U.S. shores, and about 2,420 have tried to
reach the United States by sea since last October.

On the same day Royal Caribbean rescued the group it found, the Coast
Guard returned 42 other migrants to Cuba after they were picked up in
the Florida Straits in two separate incidents earlier in the week.

Source: Florida-bound Cuban migrants rescued after 22 days adrift at
sea. Nine die on journey – LA Times –
www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-cuba-migrants-20160319-story.html

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