Cruise ship wanted in US lawsuit remains in Bahamas


FILE - The Crystal Symphony cruise liner departs the port of Charleston, SC May 21, 2013. Scheduled to arrive in Miami on Saturday, January 22, 2022, the ship, with hundreds of passengers on board, was diverted to the Bahamas after a U.S. judge granted an order to seize the vessel in a lawsuit over unpaid fuel.  (AP Photo/Bruce Smith, File)

FILE – The Crystal Symphony cruise liner departs the port of Charleston, SC May 21, 2013. Scheduled to arrive in Miami on Saturday, January 22, 2022, the ship, with hundreds of passengers on board, was diverted to the Bahamas after a U.S. judge granted an order to seize the vessel in a lawsuit over unpaid fuel. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith, File)

PA

Authorities in the Bahamas said a cruise ship scheduled to dock in Miami over the weekend remained in the Bahamas on Monday, avoiding a US judge’s order to impound the ship.

Crystal Cruises announced last week that it was suspending operations until the end of April, canceling or shortening the itineraries of Crystal Symphony and two other ships.

sergeant. Kareem Woods of the Royal Bahamas Police said the Crystal Symphony was still moored in Bimini and authorities were not currently considering impounding the vessel.

“He will be allowed to stay in Bimini,” he said, adding that he did not know if there were any personnel on board the ship.

The arrest warrant for the ship is part of a lawsuit for more than $4.6 million in what the lawsuit said was unpaid fuel. The ship was scheduled to arrive in Miami on Saturday. But a federal judge on Thursday issued the arrest warrant for the ship, a maritime practice in which a U.S. marshal boards a vessel and takes charge of it once it enters U.S. waters.

Cruise trackers show Crystal Symphony is currently docked on the Bahamian island of Bimini.

The ship’s passengers were taken by ferry to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday. It is not known how many were traveling, but passengers said there were around 300.

A musician who has toured on and off the ship said between 30 and 50 crew members disembarked because their contracts had ended, while another 400 crew members did not know when they would disembark.

Passengers on another Crystal Cruises ship that left Miami a week ago said the ship had to cancel port calls at the last minute, but were not told.

The Crystal Serenity, now docked in Costa Rica, will stop sailing in Aruba on January 30, cutting short a three-and-a-half-month expedition for around 200 passengers.

Travelers weren’t told of the change until two days after leaving Miami, and some said it would have been better to return to South Florida instead of unexpectedly ending up in South America.

“People are very upset and shocked and distraught because Aruba is not very convenient,” said Barry Shulman, 75, a passenger from Las Vegas on the long expedition that was originally scheduled to return to California in late May. “It’s an absolute mess.”

Shulman said a few days ago after leaving Cozumel that the ship’s captain announced that there was an order to seize the vessel in Cozumel.

“He said, ‘I’m glad we got out of Cozumel before they had a chance to arrest us,'” Shulman said. “My eyebrows went up. If it was a joke, it was pretty inappropriate.

Crystal Cruises did not respond to questions about the Crystal Serenity.

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Associated Press writer Danica Coto contributed to this report from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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