Miami-bound luxury cruise diverts to Bahamas to avoid arrest

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Miami-bound luxury cruise diverts to Bahamas to avoid arrest

A luxury cruise ship carrying hundreds of passengers and bound for Miami diverted to the Bahamas on Saturday in order to avoid arrest tied to unpaid fuel bills totaling more than $1.2 million, according to a report.

The Crystal Symphony was due to dock in South Florida on Saturday after a two-week cruise in the Caribbean that started on Jan. 8, but instead of returning stateside, it docked at the Bahamian port of Bimini, according to the online tracker Cruise Mapper, NPR reported.

The detour was prompted by a lawsuit filed against Crystal Cruises’ parent company, Genting Hong Kong, according to the report.

Peninsula Petroleum Far East alleged that the company, which also owns Star Cruises, breached its maritime contract by failing to pay a combined $4.6 million in fuel bills when taking into account the money allegedly owed for all of its cruise operators, according to the claim.

Crystal Cruises announced on Wednesday — the same day the lawsuit was filed in federal court — that it was suspending its operations through the end of April.

The next day, US District Judge Darrin Gayles issued a warrant for the ship’s arrest. US Marshals were supposed to board the ship and take it into custody once it reached Miami.

“This was an extremely difficult decision but a prudent one given the current business environment and recent developments with our parent company, Genting Hong Kong,” Crystal Cruises president Jack Anderson said.

The Crystal Symphony, beginning the cruise season in Seattle with it's arrival earlier in the day, sits moored at a pier in downtown Seattle Friday, April 15, 2011. The ship, operated by Crystal Cruises, can carry more than 900 passengers and has a crew of more than 500. The ship's arrival is the first of 195 port calls by cruise ships this season at the two terminals on the Seattle waterfront. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
The parent company of the firm that operates the cruise ship has been sued for failing to pay millions owed for fuel.
AP

A spokesperson for Crystal Cruises told The Post that passengers were given accommodations on the ship on Saturday night and that 300 guests were later transferred to Port Everglades.

The cruise line also arranged ground transportation to local airports as well as Port Miami, according to the company.

Elio Pace, a musician who was on board the ship, said on his Facebook page the captain informed passengers that Genting Hong Kong had gone into liquidation and the ship would cease sailing once it reached Miami. Passengers were told they needed to disembark and make their own way home.

“Would you believe me if I told you that yesterday, Friday, (the night of my second show) after all arrangements had been set for flights, car hire etc by all disembarking passengers and crew, we were notified by the captain that the ship was no longer sailing to Miami and was instead diverting to Bimini in the Bahamas where we would arrive tomorrow, Sunday, and disembark from there?”

The news is only the latest in a series of turbulent events for the industry, which has suffered significant losses tied to the coronavirus pandemic and travel lockdowns.

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