Cruise Ship Headed To Miami Takes Detour To Avoid Being Seized
A Crystal Symphony cruise ship was scheduled to arrive at the Port of Miami Saturday, Jan. 22 when it abruptly changed course to the Bahamas instead. In a story, straight off the screen of a blockbuster action movie, a US judge issued an arrest warrant for the luxury cruise liner due to millions of dollars in unpaid fuel bills. So, basically to prevent U.S. Marshals in South Florida from seizing the ship they didn't return to port as USA Today first reported.
Now I've heard of runaway cars, buses, and trains, but never a cruise ship! We live in some strange times people. The drama reportedly started to unfold last Wednesday (Jan. 19) when Peninsula Petroleum Far East Pte Ltd filed a lawsuit in a South Florida federal court against the company that owns the ship, Crystal Cruises. The ship has a capacity of 848 passengers, but it is unclear how many were actually on board at the time of the incident.
Peninsula Petroleum is a marine fuel supplier based out of Singapore, and they claim Crystal Cruises owes them a total of $4.6 million in unpaid fuel expenses, which includes a whopping $1.2 million in fuel for the Crystal Symphony.
CNN reports a cruise ship tracker shows the ship is still docked in the Bahamas at a port in Bimini, according to a cruise ship tracker. The good news is roughly 300 passengers were able to make it back to Florida the next day. The bad news is it was "uncomfortable due to inclement weather." The ship's passengers were transported via ferry Sunday, Jan. 23, from Bimini to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
Ironically, the same day the lawsuit was filed, Jack Anderson, President for the luxury cruise line announced he was suspending operations, including ocean voyages through late April and river cruises through May. Anderson said, "Suspending operations will provide Crystal's management team with an opportunity to evaluate the current state of business and examine various options moving." He stated that they had two remaining cruises in operation — one heading to Aruba and another set for Argentina. Once those voyages were completed guests who have booked future trips will receive a full refund.
Crystal's president continued, "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." Genting Hong Kong, one of Asia's largest cruise operators, is about to enter liquidation.