Tuesday, June 17, 2008

From the on the way home department:

Last Saturday, on its way back to Miami, Carnival Valor spotted a raft with migrants aboard and carefully pulled close to investigate.

They found six men and a woman on the raft, and in line with regular procedures, they advised the US Coast Guard, which said they would send a ship to pick up the people. Carnival Valor remained with the raft until the Coast Guard arrived to make sure the people would be safe. While they were waiting, they supplied the people with fresh water since they had been without for five days.

But not all the communication was with the Carnival crew. The passengers usually want to know why the ship has stopped and quickly understand the situation. Even though it's a routine (and regular) occurrence for cruise ships, for the passengers, it's quite unusual.

In this case, according to local Miami media, the passengers were shouting back and forth to the migrants and even taking pictures. At one point, one of the men on the raft shouted a Miami phone number to some women on a balcony and asked them to call his relatives and let them know that he was alive.

The Coast Guard eventually did come and take the people aboard their ship, and Carnival Valor continued on its way back to Miami. Under US policies, since the people did not actually land on shore, it's doubtful they will be allowed to remain in the US.