Legends of Pittsburgh Cruise gets extra passengers in Gulf
Steelers’ Harrison photographs 16 migrants being rescued by crew
February 27, 2016 10:14 PM
From James Harrison Instagram post of 16 people picked up by The Legends of Pittsburgh Cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico near Cozumel, Mexico.
The Steelers' James Harrison shared photos on social media when the "Legends of Pittsburgh Cruise" he was on rescued 16 Cuban migrants from a makeshift raft.
By Jonathan D. Silver / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico, billed as the “Legends of Pittsburgh Cruise” and carrying Pittsburgh Steeler James Harrison, rescued 16 Cuban migrants from a makeshift raft Saturday.
Mr. Harrison, a linebacker, posted pictures of the raft on social media, and the story was picked up by TMZ.com.
“We just stopped for this boat with 16 people in the middle of the ocean. Waiting for coast guard...” Mr. Harrison tweeted. “16ppl, wild!!! @ Gulf of Mexico.”
The TMZ story published photos Mr. Harrison had uploaded to Instagram.
“It's unclear what happened to the refugees once on board,” TMZ wrote, “but one thing’s for sure, there's a good chance they’ll become Pittsburgh fans.”
Well, not necessarily.
The U.S. Coast Guard in Miami, which said that it was not involved in any rescue effort, made clear that Mr. Harrison was merely a photographer, played no role in the rescue and would likely not mingle with the migrants.
“There was a football player that was aboard the cruise ship who took some really good photos, but he wasn’t involved in the actual rescue. The Carnival cruise ship would never allow a passenger to engage with the migrants,” Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios said.
Petty Officer Rios did not have much detail about the incident, but he said he believed it occurred in international waters.
The Coast Guard has an agreement with cruise lines to use their own crews to pick up migrants, Petty Officer Rios said. He added that the migrants will be dropped off at immigration at the ship's next port of call, which is Cozumel, Mexico.
The ship was scheduled to arrive in Cozumel at 1 p.m. Saturday, according to its online itinerary.
Carnival released a statement this afternoon that said:
“Earlier today while en route from Key West, Florida, to Cozumel, Mexico, the cruise ship Carnival Sensation rescued 16 individuals (15 males and one female) from a vessel in distress approximately 50 miles off the northern coast of Cuba. The vessel has now resumed course for Mexico where it is expected to arrive this afternoon. Both Mexican and U.S. authorities have been contacted.”
Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said Saturday that he was aware of the situation based on Mr. Harrison's tweets and the TMZ story but had no first-hand knowledge of what happened.
The Legends of Pittsburgh Cruise 2016 set sail Thursday from Miami and travels to Key West, Cozumel and then back to Miami on a voyage lasting until Monday.
Current and former Steelers, Pirates and Penguins are featured on the cruise, which allows guests to mingle with the professional athletes and boasts on its website that you can “get up close and personal with the legends while soaking in the sun and the fun at sea.”
The Carnival Sensation has a 2,056-guest capacity and room for 920 crew members, according to the Legends of Pittsburgh website.
Jonathan D. Silver: email@example.com, 412-263-1962 or on Twitter @jsilverpg.
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