‘Christmas miracle’ as cruise ship discovers fishermen who had been stranded for 20 days in Caribbean

Crew members raise funds for rescued fishermen aboard Empress of the Seas 

Chris Riotta
New York
Monday 24 December 2018 22:21
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Cruise ship worker found alive in sea 22 hours after falling overboard in 'miraculous' rescue

Two fishermen who had been stranded at sea for weeks were rescued by a cruise ship in a discovery being celebrated by officials as a “Christmas miracle.”

The Costa Rican fishermen were displaced for 20 days after falling asleep and drifting away from their equipment in the Caribbean sea, before a Royal Caribbean ship that was forced to reroute due to weather issues found their boat, according to the cruise line’s chief meteorologist, James Van Fleet.

“Winds picked up and when they woke up they were blown way off where their gear had been,” he wrote on Twitter, including screenshots showing a map of where the fishermen were located. “They ran out of gas trying to get back and were adrift … they only had enough food and water for seven days.”

“Due to last week’s massive storm, we knew we could not operate our tenders with such a strong wind, and opted to go to a port with a pier,” he continued. “Pure luck, lining of the stars, God, whatever you choose to believe, the facts are we would not have been in that area at the time.

“I don’t know about you, but I’ve already seen a Christmas miracle,” he added.

The ship, which had originally been slated to dock in Cuba, but due to a storm raging through the region its crew members decided to instead travel to Jamaica.

After embarking on their new course, the crew members discovered a signal light illuminating from a small boat in the middle of the evening.

The ship contacted numerous authorities across Jamaica and Grand Cayman to assist the stranded fishermen, but a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean said none were available at the time to immediately respond to the emergency, NPR reported Sunday.

That’s when the ship, called the Empress of the Seas, lowered a tender towards the boat so the fishermen could climb aboard.

“One of the fishermen could no longer walk and our Empress of the Seas Crew literally carried him to the tender and carried him onboard,” Mr Van Fleet wrote. “We had them checked by our doctor and nurse staff, hydrated, fed and clothed.”

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“By the time they got to Jamaica, the one fishermen was able to walk on his own again,” he added.

Crew members then collected funds throughout the ship to be donated to the fishermen, raising nearly $300 that went towards buying them food and clothing during their trip to the hospital, according to Mr Van Fleet.

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