9 Cubans rescued by cruise ship sent back

Dec. 5, 2005 at 10:26 PM

MIAMI, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard says nine of 10 Cubans saved from the sea last month by a cruise ship were returned to Cuba.

A Coast Guard spokeswoman would not disclose why the 10th migrant was not returned Sunday with the others, the Miami Herald reported.

Passengers aboard a Celebrity Cruises ocean liner spotted a foundering 15-foot boat on Nov. 27 as the ship passed within sight of the mountains of western Cuba on its way to Cozumel, Mexico.

The 10 migrants -- seven men, two women and a 7-year-old girl -- spent 10 hours aboard the Zenith before being transferred to a Coast Guard cutter, where they remained the rest of the week.

According to current U.S. policy, Cuban migrants who are interdicted at sea typically are not admitted into the United States. Most are repatriated to Cuba. Those who reach land are generally allowed to stay and later can apply for permanent residence, the newspaper said.

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