MIAMI, FL.—On Jan. 24, a luxury cruise ship scheduled to dock in Miami rerouted its course to the Bahamas after a U.S. judge ordered the ship to be seized as part of a lawsuit over unpaid fuel.
The Crystal Symphony was supposed to conclude its Caribbean voyage in Miami on Jan. 22; the online tracking application Cruise Mapper found the vessel Monday afternoon local time at a port in Bimini, the section of the Bahamas closest to the U.S. mainland. The diversion seemed to follow a lawsuit filed on Jan. 19.
Peninsula Petroleum Far East sued Crystal Cruises and Star Cruises, both owned by Genting Hong Kong, and the Crystal Symphony after accusing the vessel and its managers of breach of a maritime contract. Peninsula Petroleum Far East had asked the court to take it into account custody. The six-page filing says the entities owe a combined $4.6 million in fuel.
On the same day, Crystal Cruises announced it would be suspending its operations for ocean and expedition ships through the end of April and for its river cruise through the end of May. They claimed the decision would give the company’s management team some time to evaluate the state of business and potential future options.
District Judge Darrin Gayles issued a warrant for the ship’s arrest on Thursday.
It is unknown how many passengers were on the vessel at the time of the reroute, but the vessel does carry 848 guests. According to NPR.org, “A spokesperson for the company told NPR in an emailed statement that passengers were given accommodations on the ship for Saturday night, and about 300 guests were later transferred via ferry to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. The cruise line arranged ground transportation to local airports as well as Port Miami.”