HAL's cruise ship MS Rotterdam rescues styrofoam raft with 14 Cuban migrants in the Caribbean

   November 11, 2022 ,   Accidents

A cruise ship rescued a styrofoam raft that had 14 people on it in the dead of night in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

13 men and 1 woman were spotted on the sinking raft by cruise passengers on a HAL-Holland America ship which had her voyage extended due to Hurricane Nicole.

Passengers on ms Rotterdam’s 11-night Caribbean voyage noticed a floating object in the sea at ~06:00 p.m. on Wednesday night (Nov 9th), prior to alerting the captain.

The Coast Guard was contacted for a rescue mission. 

Because of the choppy water from the Category 1 storm, the decision was made to get the people to safety.

Witnesses said parts of the raft were rapidly falling off and it was completely falling apart.

The liner was sailing between Cuba and Florida, due to the bad weather, so the people on the raft were presumably trying to get to Florida from Cuba.

The captain ordered a line to be thrown out to them. One of the men had to swim 15 yards through the rough waters to grab it. Then they were all pulled out to safety.

If they had not been spotted by the cruise passengers then they would not have survived the night.

ms Rotterdam cruise ship

The rescued group was given medical care, food, and drinks before departing the ship with other passengers at Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades, Florida) on Thursday morning, November 10.

At the time of the accident, ms Rotterdam was sailing on a 21-day, roundtrip Southern Caribbean Seafarer Wayfarer cruise. The itinerary started on October 30, 2022, and ends on November 20, 2022.

For more ms Rotterdam incidents and accidents see the ship's CruiseMinus page.