CAPE CANAVERAL (CBSMiami) – The crew of Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom of the Seas assisted the Coast Guard on Saturday after a small makeshift boat was spotted off the South Florida coastline.

According to a passenger, identified only as J. Giordano, the cruise ship was brought to halt just south of Miami while the Coast Guard pulled eight men from the small blue boat and then transferred them in two trips to the ocean liner.

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They Freedom’s crew then waited for a Coast Guard cutter to arrive from Miami and the men were then transferred to that vessel. A small boat from the Freedom was used to transport the men to the Coast Guard ship because the seas were too rough for the cutter to pull alongside the cruise liner.

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The entire process took about two hours, said Giordano.

The Coast Guard would say little about the operation except that it was part of an ongoing law enforcement investigation.

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In 2009, Royal Caribbean moved the Freedom of the Seas home port from the Port of Miami to Port Canaveral