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Disney cruise ship rescues five Cubans at sea

By Shawn Price   |   Updated Feb. 15, 2016 at 6:18 AM

MIAMI, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- A Disney cruise ship rescued a group of 12 suspected Cuban migrants in the Caribbean Sea, the U.S. Coast Guard said Sunday.

The ship, Disney Wonder was on its way from Miami to the Cayman Islands when the small vessel was spotted southeast of Cuba at about 8 p.m. Saturday.

The 12 migrants who were identified as Cuban, were afloat on what the Coast Guard calls a "rustic" vessel, U.S. Coast Guard 7th District spokesman Jon-Paul Rios said, a term for any un-seaworthy craft.

The group was taken aboard the cruise ship, where they were transported to authorities on the Cayman Islands, Rios said. It is not known however, if the group was attempting to get to the United States.

The Disney Wonder rescued a group of eight migrants from a raft off Key West in 2013.

Cruise ship companies have agreements with the U.S. Coast Guard to alert them when they come in contact with migrants. Following those agreements, Disney Wonder dropped the migrants off at the ship's next port of call and handed them over to authorities.

A growing number of Cuban migrants have been picked up recently. Experts believe Cubans might be trying to reach the United States because they fear warming relations between the two countries will soon make the United States resistant to accepting Cubans as refugees.

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