The 23 refugees had been at sea for 21 days when an officer on the bridge of the Oasis of the Seas spotted them. *Photo by Travis Burgess
The 23 refugees had been at sea for 21 days when an officer on the bridge of the Oasis of the Seas spotted them. *Photo by Travis Burgess

SATURDAY, APRIL 7: Big-hearted crew from the Oasis of the Seas reached out to 23 Cuban refugees who were rescued from the Caribbean Sea on Wednesday by donating clothing.

The 23 refugees were turned over to Mexican immigration officials on Thursday after being rescued by the Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas.

Bermuda Sun journalist Don Burgess was on board to witness the dramatic high seas rescue on Wednesday.

Originally, it was announced to the passengers on the ship that the Cubans were from Honduras, but they were actually attempting to sail to the Central American country.

They had been at sea for 21 days when an officer on the bridge of the Oasis of the Seas spotted with binoculars the approximately 14ft boat bobbing four miles away.

A rescue craft from the ship made several trips to the Cuban boat while the captain of the Oasis was awaiting instructions from the US Coast Guard.

The rescue craft took water, food and other provisions to the Cubans, who agreed to be taken on board the Oasis.

The Cubans - 19 men and four women - were brought on board the Oasis and kept in the conference room on the third deck until the ship docked in Cozumel, Mexico on Thursday.

They were given food and water, and some of the big-hearted crew of the Oasis donated clothing items to the refugees.

One crew member said: "They were in need - it was the least we could do."

Another crew member said the Cubans had a daily ration of one biscuit and water while they were trying to traverse 1,100 miles from their homeland to Honduras.

One of the women required medical treatment upon leaving the ship.