Photo: NY Post
According to a recent report, the Miami-bound Crystal Symphony luxury cruise liner diverted to the Bahamas on Saturday to avoid arrest by the feds. The luxury cruise ship carrying hundreds of passengers bound for Miami diverted to the Bahamas on Saturday in order to avoid arrest tied to unpaid fuel bills. The said costs of the fuel bills totaled more than $1.2 million.
The Crystal Symphony was set to dock in South Florida on Saturday after a luxurious two-week cruise in the Caribbean, which initially began on the 8th of January. However, instead of returning stateside, the luxury cruise liner docked at the Bahamian port of Bimini, according to the online tracker Cruise Mapper as reported by NPR.
It is said that the detour was prompted by a lawsuit filed against the parent company of Crystal Cruises, Genting Hong Kong. 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.
On Wednesday, Crystal Cruises officially announced that it was suspending its operations throughout the end of April. The announcement was made on the same day when the lawsuit was filed in federal court. 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, but the sudden detour was unprecedented and caught the feds off guard.
“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 in an interview. 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 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The luxury 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, stated on his Facebook page that 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 that 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?” shared Elio Pace.
This news is only the latest in a series of turbulent events for the luxury cruise line industry, an industry that has suffered severe losses tied to the global pandemic and travel lockdowns set in place.