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The Message In A Cruise Ship Rescue

Sometimes, you know, it only matters that somebody needs help. It doesn't matter that they are Cubans, desperately trying to escape and to enter the U.S. illegally. They are, first and foremost, human beings.

This is what happened last week. The Carnival Paradise was in the Caribbean Sea. So was a boatload of Cubans…24 of them. It was a small boat, which means its capacity was probably less than 24. It was listing, with water in the bottom. It had been at sea for five days. It was in distress, or disabled. 

These were human beings who needed help.

The captain of the Paradise maneuvered his big ship close enough to shield the small craft from the waves. Then his crew dropped a platform, ropes and life Carnival Paradisejackets. All 24 were brought on board. This was not the first time Cubans afloat on the sea have been rescued by a passing cruise ship, and it will surely not be the last.

On the Paradise there was, according to a CNN eyewitness from Paris — Matthew Sudders, some uncertainty among the ship's 2,000-odd passengers. They were uncertain about their safety. Let's see…2,000 of "us" and 24 of "them." Most of the passengers just cheered.

The rescued were cleared through security, of course, and given food and clothes and a place to sleep until the ship eventually made its way to Tampa. Their fate would be decided there. The legalities could wait. For 24 people afloat on a disabled boat in the Caribbean Sea, only one thing mattered.

Paradise found.

Photo credit: Beau Hudspeth

Holland America Zaandam
7 nights
July 25, 2014
Vancouver (return): JuneauSkagwayTracy ArmKetchikan
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $99

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