The Mexican Navy says it has rescued nine Cuban migrants found adrift in a makeshift boat off Mexico's Caribbean coast.

The Navy said Thursday the private, Panama-flagged tanker ship Chem Venus spotted the Cubans on Tuesday.

The Navy dispatched a ship to pick up the seven men and two women at a spot about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Isla Mujeres.

It said they had been turned over to immigration authorities.

Mexico often gives Cubans temporary paperwork allowing them to reach the U.S. border, where special immigration policies allow them to stay.

Cubans long used the sea route, but in recent months many had preferred an overland route through Ecuador and Central America. Thousands are now stranded there after Ecuador established visa requirements, and Nicaragua refused them passage.