Passengers applauded and ‘really moved’ after Royal Caribbean cruise ship rescued 17 people from small boat in Bahamas

Freedom of the Seas, sister ship of Liberty of the Seas

Cruise ships are increasingly crossing immigrant ships.Joe Raedle/Getty Images

  • Royal Caribbean Cruises has rescued 17 people from a small boat in the Bahamas.

  • Cheers erupted after successfully boarding the Liberty of the Seas, Justin Bradford told an insider.

  • This is the latest in a series of similar rescue operations by cruise ships.

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship rescued 17 people, believed to be Cuban migrants, crammed into a small boat on Saturday as it sailed to the Bahamas.

Justin Bradford, 39, was a passenger on Liberty of the Seas. He told an insider: “If you’re an American, you’ve probably seen the Cuban people do that trek on TV. But seeing it in real life is really inspiring.” Everyone was shocked and couldn’t believe it.

Due to high winds, the cruise ship skipped a day trip to Cococay, a private island in the Bahamas owned by Royal Caribbean.

This turned out to be a “lucky” coincidence, as the Royal Caribbean’s captain ended up crossing the road with a small boat that he said had been adrift for weeks.

Bradford was eating his breakfast when he first noticed a patch of color in the distance. “At first, some people thought it was a buoy. But as we got closer, we realized it was a boat. There are people in it.”

People in the small boat were waving red cloth, Bradford said. Passengers went out on deck to have a good look.

Over the intercom, the captain announced that a rescue mission would be attempted. “I could already feel the ship slowing down,” Bradford told his Insider.

Strong winds prevented Liberty of the Seas from dispatching a rescue boat, but they slowed and stopped to wait for a smaller boat to approach the liner.

In total, this took about 45 minutes, according to Bradford. “People were applauding as they approached.”

When the migrants finally arrived, the crew threw ropes so the ship could be attached to the 1,112-foot cruise ship.

Bradford said it was “really emotional”. “No matter what people think about immigration, seeing people making such a desperate effort makes me think they have to get away from something really bad.”

The applause grew louder as more immigrants boarded the Liberty of the Seas.

They sprayed the small boat with red paint and then set it adrift, letting other ships know that the ship had been abandoned and its passengers had been rescued.

In a statement to insiders, Royal Caribbean said: They are actively being treated and are working with the U.S. Coast Guard. ”

It was the latest in a series of similar incidents of cruise ships crossing immigrant boats.Celebrity Cruises captain Kate McCue shared last week viral video of her crew successful rescue 19 immigrants off the coast of Florida.

Read the original article at business insider