Disney Cruise Ship Picks Up Refugees

May 28, 2012

(11.15 a.m. EDT) -- A Disney cruise ship picked up four men found adrift on a small raft near Key West, Florida.

Disney Fantasy boarded the men -– who are believed to be Cuban refugees -- while sailing from Florida to Grand Cayman on Sunday 27 May.

The men, who were spotted signalling for help, were brought aboard the ship and provided with medical attention, food and water, according to a statement from Disney.

What will happen to the men once they arrive on Grand Cayman remains unclear. In an e-mail to Cruise Critic, a spokesperson from Disney addressed the future of the men indirectly, saying, "We have notified the U.S. Coast Guard of this rescue and we are working with the proper authorities to coordinate the debarkation of the group ... It would be up to those authorities to determine next steps."

The incident follows a rescue by Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas which picked up 23 Cuban refugees off Cozumel, Mexico, in April.

Both stories stand in contrast to Star Princess' alleged failure to rescue three stranded fisherman adrift in the Pacific in March –- despite passengers voicing their concerns. Two of the three men on the stricken fishing boat died of dehydration; the third, Adrian Vasquez, has since filed suit in a Florida court alleging negligence on the part of Princess Cruises.

Disney Fantasy set sail on a seven-day round-trip cruise from Port Canaveral on Saturday. The ship is due into Georgetown, Grand Cayman, today (28 May), where the refugees are expected to disembark.

--by Adam Coulter, Senior Editor