NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard and the crew of the cruise ship Carnival Fantasy rescued 23 individuals on the high seas, 130 nautical miles off the Yucatan Peninsula, Sunday.
The Eighth Coast Guard District and Seventh Coast Guard District command centers received a report at 1:15 a.m. from a Cuban national stating his brother and 22 other individuals were adrift aboard a disabled sports fisher. It was reported that 22 Cuban nationals started their voyage from Cuba to Mexico on a wooden boat before losing power and becoming adrift for three days. They were noticed by a Cuban-Mexican national who took all 22 individuals aboard his sports fisher vessel. The boater’s engines reportedly malfunctioned and the 23 people became adrift for an additional three days.
Watchstanders alerted the cruise ship Carnival Fantasy and directed the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater HC-130 Hercules aircrew at 12:50 a.m. to search two reported areas. With no signs of distress and a need to refuel the HC-130 returned to base.
A Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew launched to relieve the Hercules aircrew to search a third location, locating the vessel with the individuals at 8:40 a.m.
The Carnival Fantasy arrived on scene at and brought the individuals on board at 10:47 a.m.
Two individuals had minor medical issues that were treated by the cruise ship’s medical staff.
The 23 individuals will be transferred to Customs and Border Protection and Coast Guard Investigative Services in Mobile, Alabama, Tuesday morning.
For questions on the status of the individuals please contact U.S. Customs and Border Protection at (504) 670-2284.