Presentation on theme: "Royal Caribbean Cruise aboard Navigator of the Seas May 1, 2011 – 3pm."— Presentation transcript:
Royal Caribbean Cruise aboard Navigator of the Seas May 1, 2011 – 3pm
During our latest cruise, while enjoying drinks with friends at a luxurious bar on deck 14, an announcement was made across the ship….
“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Those of you on open decks may have noticed I am turning the ship around slowly. We have located a small vessel with possible Cuban refugees a few miles behind the ship. In accordance with International Maritime laws we are obligated to investigate.”
After approximately 60 minutes of the captain and crew slowly maneuvering the 140,000 ton, 1020’ long ship in the direction of the vessel, hundreds of passengers lined up along the rails to catch a glimpse of the small craft.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have located the small vessel which contains 9 adults, 8 males and 1 female. We believe they are Cuban refugees, since we are located approximately 45 miles north of Havana, Cuba – this is not an uncommon event. We are in contact with the US Coast Guard in Key West awaiting instructions.”
As the small craft got closer, it was easy to see the refugees were struggling to keep it afloat, continuously bailing water out of the home-made vessel in 6 to 8 foot seas.
The refugees were noticeably excited, waving their hands, yelling out for help as their craft slowly drifted towards the cruise ship.
A few of the refugees were obviously exhausted, surely suffering from heat exhaustion, dehydration, and sea-sickness. The female was especially weakened and was being held tightly by her husband or boyfriend.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have been instructed by the US Coast Guard to rescue the refugees and bring them onboard for immediate medical attention.”
Several hundred passengers clapped and yelled out in excitement at the captain’s announcement, as the rescue unfolded in front of us.
The captain and crew then maneuvered the immense cruise ship slowly along-side the small craft. This was performed with astonishing precision and control in 6 to 8 foot seas.
The small craft slowly made it’s way alongside the ship and the refugees entered the ship one by one through a side access door that had been opened for the rescue.
All 9 refugees were recovered from the small craft and the last survivor was instructed to paint the vessel to mark that a rescue had been made by the Navigator of the Seas.
The small craft was released to float aimlessly in the ocean. The clear view of the empty vessel, painted the picture of the incredible desperation that it must have taken to convince these 9 people to get into this boat and leave their country.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have rescued 9 Cuban refugees and taken them onboard. Rest assured these people are receiving the best care possible from our medical and guest services teams. I will have another update soon.”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have been instructed by the US Coast Guard to travel north, off of our original course, towards Key West, where we will transfer all 9 refugees to a Coast Guard cutter off shore. Please be aware this will not affect our arrival time into Fort Lauderdale tomorrow, as there is always extra time built into our routes to account for unforeseen circumstances.”
While eating dinner, around 7:30pm Sunday, the US Coast Guard Cutter showed up and deployed a small craft to retrieve all 9 refugees from the Navigator of the Seas.
The Coast Guard speed boat made several trips to retrieve the Cuban refugees from the same rescue hatch that had welcomed them hours earlier.
Each refugee, in their fresh clothing, were slowly lowered down the same rope ladder that they had climbed earlier in the day.
Finally the last refugees made their way to the US Coast Guard cutter and disappeared over the horizon on their way back to Key West to await their inevitable return to the country they so desperately fled.
It is hard to imagine that 50 years later, Cuba still remains such a stronghold of oppression. Most of us cannot fathom the type of life these people had that would make them risk their life to come to our country in this fashion. Hopefully one day we will see freedom and liberty reach this country and help save it’s own people.