Rerouting of the Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas from Cuba to Ocho Rios, Jamaica meant to be a life-saving Christmas miracle for two sailors.
The two sailors had been stranded on their boat for nearly 3 weeks. They were adrift and out of fuel, low on fresh water, and surviving off what fish they managed to catch.
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The Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas cruise ship discovered the two stranded mariners in a small fishing vessel Friday night halfway between Grand Cayman and Jamaica.
The cruise ship saw a light at 19.00h Friday evening, and then reduced speed and moved toward the small vessel. The cruise ship contacted Grand Cayman and Jamaica rescue centers, but they said they were unable to provide assistance.
Three hours later the cruise ship lowered a smaller boat known as a tender and safely recovered the two sailors. The two mariners were given water and medical attention on board the cruise ship.
The two fishermen had originally set sail from Costa Rica. As they slept overnight, their boat drifted away from their fishing gear due to bad weather. They ran out of fuel trying to get back.
The fishermen told the cruise ship’s crew they only had enough food and water for seven days. The water was the primary issue, and they tried to fish for food.
The sailors were taken off the ship at Ocho Rios, Jamaica for medical attention. The cruise ship’s crew gave them $300 to buy clothes and food as they left the hospital.