Cruise liner spots Cuban refugees

Jan. 6, 2004 at 3:10 PM

MIAMI, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard has eight Cuban migrants in custody after their sinking boat was spotted by a cruise ship and provided care.

The Coast Guard is expected to return the eight Cubans back to the island nation aboard a cutter under current U.S. policy, The Miami Herald reported Tuesday.

Spokesman Michael Sheehan of Royal Caribbean Lines said passengers on the Brilliance of the Seas spotted the eight men 36 miles southwest of Key West Sunday.

The liner returned to the small boat and called the Coast Guard.

Passenger Paul Fisher said he was concerned that the liner's officers wouldn't allow the migrants aboard the ship and threw them blankets.

Sheehan said the boat was tied to the liner.

"Obviously, we wouldn't let someone sink," he said.

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