Last updated: 07:14 PM ET, Mon February 15 2016

Disney Cruise Ship Saves 12 Suspected Migrants Near Cuba

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | February 15, 2016

Disney Cruise Ship Saves 12 Suspected Migrants Near Cuba

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

On Sunday, Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder was en route to the Cayman Islands when the vessel picked up 12 suspected migrants.

According to, the United States Coast Guard reported the Disney Wonder was sailing from Miami to Grand Cayman when the suspected migrants were spotted in a makeshift vessel southeast of Cuba at around 8 p.m. local time.

READ MORE: Coast Guard Proposes Ship Safety Regulations

All of the individuals were Cuban. They were picked up by Disney as part of a program with the U.S. Coast Guard where cruise ships pick up the suspected migrants and deliver them to authorities at the next port of call.

U.S. Coast Guard 7th District spokesman Jon-Paul Rios told that the 12 suspected migrants were picked up and brought onboard the Disney cruise ship after crew saw a vessel floating in open water. Maritime authorities used the term "rustic" when describing the apparently makeshift raft, which was deemed unseaworthy by officials.

All 12 of the suspected migrants were scheduled to be handled by the authorities in Grand Cayman, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, but it was still unclear if the people found on the vessel were en route to the United States or not.

READ MORE: Coast Guard Lists Most Common Cruise Ship Infractions

This isn’t the first time the Disney Wonder was forced to pick up migrants, though. The vessel was 45 miles from Key West, Florida, in 2013 when it picked up eight migrants stranded on a raft.


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