Holland America Line Rotterdam was still at sea due to Hurricane Nicole and rescued 14 refugees off a sinking raft Wednesday night.
Hurricane Nicole disrupted several cruise lines’ itineraries with Rotterdam being one of them. Passengers were given an extra day at sea for their safety and fortunately, this placed the ship in the right place at the right time for 14 refugees in need of assistance.
Daily Mail reported that a floating object was spotted by passengers on Rotterdam around 6 pm. The Coast Guard was contacted, but officials on the ship made the decision to go ahead and execute a rescue and bring the individuals to safety.
A line was shot out to the makeshift raft for those to grab hold of to be pulled to safety. One of the refugees who was swimming out about 15 yards, was also rescued. All 14 refugees, 13 men and 1 woman, were rescued safely.
Staff aboard Rotterdam provided food, water and medical attention to the refugees. When the ship was able to return to Port Everglades Friday morning, the individuals were turned over to the proper authorities.
Rotterdam is a relatively new ship for Holland America Line and just arrived in North America about two weeks ago. She was on a 10-night Southern Caribbean voyage but had to extend the cruise an extra day when Port Everglades closed due to category 1 Hurricane Nicole.
It seems that sea rescues have risen recently. Virgin Voyages, Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Celebrity Cruises have reported similar rescues in the past few months. In this case, had there been no Hurricane Nicole, the refugees likely would have not survived.