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U.S. repatriates 17 Cuban refugees

Dec. 12, 2010 at 11:15 AM

MIAMI, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard said a group of Cuban refugees rescued by a cruise ship were returned to their homeland this weekend.

The six emigrants were picked up by a Royal Caribbean cruise ship off the Bahamas and were among 17 Cubans repatriated Saturday.

The Miami Herald said Sunday that an 18th migrant was shipped off to the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to determine if the person qualifies for political asylum in a third country.

The crew of the Monarch of the Seas provided food and medical checkups for the castaways and turned them over to the Coast Guard at Port Canaveral, Fla.

"They were on the ship for less than 24 hours," a Royal Caribbean told the Herald. "They weren't mingling with the guests."

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