Picking up people on rafts in the Florida Straits isn't really anything unusual, but in the Mediterranean, it doesn't happen as often. We received the statement below from MSC Cruises just now detailing one of those occasions last week. There was no indication of exactly why the people were out at sea in the small boat.
MSC CRUISES’ SHIP RESCUES 9 CASTAWAYS OFF THE COAST OF SPAIN
(Oct. 8, 2007) – MSC Cruises announced that around midnight on Oct. 3, MSC Lirica was traveling between Malaga and Civitavecchia, roughly three hours southeast of Cartagena [Spain], when the crew sighted a small boat in difficulty asking for assistance.
The Spanish authorities, the Cartagena Rescue Centre and the local DPA were advised while MSC Lirica’s Rescue and Security teams helped the nine Algerian citizens on board the cruise ship.
The castaways were in frail condition; in fact, one needed urgent medical attention. They were assisted and given refreshments. MSC Lirica, in accordance with the local authorities and the DPA, then turned back toward Cartagena.
At 2:40 a,m, the ship met the rescue boat Salvamar Alcor, accompanied by the coast guard vessel, and handed the nine castaways over to the authorities. By 3 a.m. the operation was completed and MSC Lirica resumed her course to Civitavecchia.