Marriott Rescue Boat Refused Non-Guests Trying To Escape Hurricane, Tourists Allege

Accusations According to witnesses Marriott executives had made the decision not to let the group which reportedly included women and children to get on the ferry

Accusations According to witnesses Marriott executives had made the decision not to let the group which reportedly included women and children to get on the ferry

A group of tourists stranded on an Irma-battered island said they watched a rescue ferry chartered by Marriott International evacuate its own customers and then sail off, leaving all non-guests behind. "They filled it with 300 Marriott guests, and there are 35 people over here waiting and we can't get on this large boat that will hold at least 2 [00] to 300 more people".

The statement did not expand on who had refused authorisation. The people on the island feared that the second storm could boom in, bringing more misery to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Marriott told The Washington Post in a statement that the St. Thomas port manager informed them that they could not accept people not on its approved manifest and it was enforced by dock security. Terry said a lieutenant told her a boat would be coming to the Marriott near the hotel they were staying in.

Both Howard and Ayala in their posts alleged that the when the people in-charge on the boat had called the CEO of Marriott, the reply was that "he did not want to take the liability".

Marriott hotels including San Juan Marriott, Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and AC Hotel by Marriott welcomed approximately 700 guests from St. Thomas, St. Maarten and St. John. "We were told we had to have our boat out of that port by nightfall. We're very fortunate that it's business as usual across the Island and we're already back on our feet", said Jose Izquierdo, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC). "We knew that it was in our best interests and in the best interests of our guests to get that ship out of there that night".

"The ferry departed St. Thomas Friday, September 8, with the Marriott guests onboard". These were guests who had to stay behind after the airport closed in advance of Hurricane Irma.

"There were a number of additional people gathered at the dock who were not our guests who also expressed a desire to leave St Thomas", the spokesman told The Sun.

Dock security did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Several hundred tourists stranded on the island had reportedly been told by local authorities that a ship would come in to take tourists to nearby Puerto Rico, from where they would be able to fly to the USA mainland.

With Hurricane Jose on a path to St. Thomas, the ferry had a tight window to pick up passengers and safely depart. The tourists were left on the US Virgin Island, where much of the electricity, water supply and gas had been cut off.

'In this case, we weren't able to help and as grateful as we are that we were able to transport our guests, we are saddened that we were not able to do the same for more people'.

At the time, Hurricane Jose had yet to turn north and little time remained to negotiate the matter.