Ron DeSantis says he'll order a rescue from stranded cruise ship — but only the people from Florida
Ron DeSantis of Florida speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by Gage Skidmore

On Wednesday, CNN's Joe Lockhart reported that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is preparing a rescue mission for people trapped aboard the MS Zandaam cruise ship off the coast of Florida.


The catch? DeSantis plans to rescue only the 49 Floridians on the ship. None of the other 1,200 passengers on board — including the 250 Americans from other states and the 400 Canadians — will be rescued.

The ship has been stuck in a holding pattern and heading for Fort Lauderdale, after ports in several countries rejected them amid the coronavirus pandemic, and passengers are begging Florida authorities for help. Two passengers are confirmed dead of coronavirus, nine others have tested positive, and an additional 179 have flu-like symptoms but haven't been tested. "I don’t know if they are going to accept us, I hope they do," said 63-year-old Ohio artist Andrea Anderson, one of those trapped. "We need to get off this ship."

On Monday, DeSantis rejected the idea of a broader rescue, telling Fox News, "We cannot afford to have people who are not even Floridians dumped into South Florida using up those valuable resources."

DeSantis has been facing anger over his refusal to declare a shelter-in-place order and shut down public beaches. Today, after weeks of cruise ships landing and Spring Breakers gathering in public areas, he finally issued the long-sought order.