The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) said in a news release that 41 Cuban migrants were rescued by the Carnival Ecstasy cruise ship in the Florida Straits Tuesday evening.
Crewmembers aboard the 855-foot Carnival Ecstasy located the vessel at 7 p.m. Tuesday, the Coast Guard said, adding the vessel was “grossly overloaded,” unseaworthy, was taking on water and did not have any navigation or life saving equipment on board.
The migrants were pulled to safety by Ecstasy crewmembers and were later transferred to a Coast Guard cutter patrolling in the area. No injuries were reported following an evaluation by the medical personnel aboard the Ecstasy.
"These 41 individuals are very lucky to be alive," said Captain Todd Lutes, Coast Guard Seventh District Chief of Incident Management. "Taking to the sea in an unseaworthy vessel without proper life saving equipment can be a deadly decision. Had it not been for the cruise ship Ecstasy this voyage could have ended in tragedy."
The USCG said it will seek to return the migrants to their country of origin.