Royal Caribbean Ship Saves Men Trapped at Sea for 20 Days

Royal Caribbean's Empress of the SeasPHOTO: Royal Caribbean International’s Empress of the Seas. (photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)A Royal Caribbean ship forced to change its itinerary due to storms found and rescued two sailors Friday who had been stranded at sea for 20 days.

According to the Miami Herald, Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas departed from Miami on December 17 and was sailing between Grand Cayman and Jamaica as part of the storm-impacted itinerary.

Crew members operating the radar system for the Empress of the Seas noticed an anomaly that turned out to be a small fishing boat floating in the water. Royal Caribbean called for emergency rescue and pulled the two men who had been stranded for 20 days out of the water.

Royal Caribbean Chief Meteorologist James Van Fleet shared images of the rescue and praised the quick thinking of the ship’s crew on Twitter:

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

James Van Fleet@JamesVanFleet

More pics to share from @RoyalCaribbean rescuing 2 Mariners who had been at Sea for 20 DAYS in that small boat between and ! See last pic for story. UNREAL and so PROUD of Officers and Crew! Thank you @jleberle and @caryjames007 for pics.

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The Empress of the Seas is scheduled to return to Miami on December 23 after visits to George Town, Grand Cayman Island; Cienfuegos, Cuba; and Havana, Cuba.

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Miami port parcel is ideal for proposed Cuba ferry

At this point, it is anybody’s guess who will be sailing to Cuba from Miami this year.

The Cuban government has issued no approvals for cruise lines, and several of the companies that have been selling cruises to Cuba have not done anything to reserve berth space at PortMiami, according to a Miami Herald report.

But one piece of nonsense ought to be easy to clear up. A proposal by the city of Miami to build a terminal to accommodate a ferry service to Havana ought to be pursued. Unlike cruises, several ferry licenses have been granted by the Cuban government. Miami is the port that makes the most sense for quick and comfortable ferry service to Cuba.

The hitch? Some Miami-Dade County commissioners want to stick with a 2011 master plan that calls for hotel and office development at the port.

The land to be used for either proposal is at the southeast corner of the port adjacent to the headquarters of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. It is the same parcel that was briefly considered as a stadium site for a professional soccer team dreamed up by star player David Beckham.

That died, due in part to opposition from Royal Caribbean. The ferry terminal is a much better idea on the face of it, and if it proves itself it would at least fit with the port’s purpose.

Some at the county like the idea of developing the real estate because the port is in significant debt and office rents and hotel revenues could improve cash flow.  But there are more convenient places to have an office than at a working port. More importantly, the office and hotel can be built anywhere, while the ferry terminal can’t.

The most fitting application for scarce port real estate is for maritime uses. The county should investigate other ways of restoring the port’s finances to firmer footing.