Related video: DeSantis greets 270 American evacuees from Israel as they land in Tampa
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Royal Caribbean is sending a cruise ship to Israel to help assist the U.S. Department of State in rescuing American citizens who have been unable to leave the country, the cruise liner confirmed to WFLA.
“Royal Caribbean Group is actively supporting the U.S. Department of State in the assisted departure of American citizens,” the corporation said in a statement.
Royal Caribbean said their cruise ship, Rhapsody of the Seas, will be helping return Americans to the United States. Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty also sent a letter to employees announcing that the cruise ship would be used to safely evacuate citizens.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Rhapsody of the Seas had canceled its sailings in the region after the Hamas attack from the Gaza Strip on Israel last week. Since the attacks began, Israel’s response has left thousands of Israelis and Palestinians dead.
On Sunday, a State Department spokesperson announced the death toll for Americans killed in the conflict stands at 30, NBC News reported. An additional 13 Americans are still missing, while many are presumed to be kidnapped by Hamas militants and held in Gaza.
“Now, with enhanced safety precautions in place, our ship is providing free passage, including accommodation and food, for Americans in the region wishing to leave and find safer ground,” Liberty wrote, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Rhapsody of the Seas has a guest capacity of 2,416.
The cruise line did not say where the ship would be docking after departing from Israel.
While government officials and agencies are working to evacuate Americans from Israel and Palestine, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis welcomed a plane carrying 270 American passengers, including 91 kids, over the weekend.
DeSantis and his family greeted the Americans when they landed at Tampa International Airport around 7:45 p.m. Sunday. The flight was organized by Project Dynamo, an international rescue nonprofit group.