Miami News

A Cruise Ship Seizure Awaits Crystal Symphony

The Crystal Symphony was on its way back to South Florida when a Miami judge ordered its seizure due to a lawsuit filed over unpaid fuel bills.

Crystal Symphony cruise ship seizure

On January 22, 2022, the Crystal Symphony, a cruise ship operated by Crystal Cruises, left the Bahamas for the United States. It was soon forced to stop short of US waters when a Miami judge issued a warrant for its seizure. This led the ship to navigate a turnaround to the Bahamas, reportedly delaying the disembarkation of hundreds of passengers by a day.

Although the cruise liner returned to the Bahamas to evade seizure, as of Tuesday, January 25, it will be seized by a court-appointed custodian and US Marshal as soon as it enters US territory.

The round trip ended on an underwhelming note

On January 8, 2022, the Crystal Symphony set sail from Miami port for a round trip to the Bahamas. Although it could accommodate more than 800 passengers at a time, it’s unclear how many of them had boarded the ship at the time or how many were on board when returning to Miami last Saturday.

According to a USA Today report, Crystal Cruises had temporarily halted sailings on Wednesday, just days before Crystal Symphony’s return journey. This temporary lull came after Genting Group, the cruise line’s parent company, announced bankruptcy and began liquidation proceedings.

By all accounts, the Crystal Symphony and two other cruise ships under Crystal Cruises were meant to complete their round trips, with the halt only applying to ships outside these three ocean journeys. However, an arrest warrant in response to a lawsuit would cut the Crystal Symphony’s Miami return short.

The lawsuit that started it all

On the same Wednesday that Genting Group declared bankruptcy, Crystal Cruises was sued by Peninsula Petroleum Far East over unpaid fuel bills. According to the lawsuit filed in South Florida federal court, the cruise company had outstanding payments totaling a staggering $4.6 million, from which $1.2 million alone went to the Crystal Symphony.

This led the Miami judge, hearing the case, to authorize an arrest warrant for the ship upon its scheduled arrival in Miami.

The warrant forced the ship to change its course and head back to the Bahamas, dropping anchor at Bimini port, which was the closest port to the US.

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The aftermath

As of Tuesday, January 25, the cruise ship tracker still shows Crystal Symphony docked at the Bimini Islands. After delaying disembarkation by a day, around 300 passengers were said to have been transported via ferry to Fort Lauderdale, a journey that was made doubly uncomfortable due to inclement weather.

According to recent reports, flight tickets were being arranged for the remaining passengers from various countries. It remains clear how many passengers are still stranded on the Bahamian island.

And that was it for this latest news from the cruise industry, which remains one of the most hard-hit victims of the pandemic. For more news and updates from Miami and Calle Ocho in particular, check out Calle Ocho News. Be the first to know all the places to visit, the best places to eat, and fun things to do in Miami.

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