CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: Crystal Cruises divert to Bimini to avoid seizure over unpaid fuel bill

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: Crystal Cruises divert to Bimini to avoid seizure over unpaid fuel bill

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A Crystal Cruises ship en route to Miami was diverted to Bimini on Friday in an attempt to avoid an arrest warrant issued in the United States relating to a more than $4 million unpaid fuel bill. 

Hundreds of passengers on board the cruise ship had to wait overnight to be transported by a ferry to Fort Lauderdale from the Family island, according to reports.

The Crystal Symphony was due to return to Miami on Saturday following a 14-day Caribbean voyage but decided not to after a Florida judge ordered that the ship be seized once entering United States waters.

The warrant resulted from a lawsuit filed by Peninsula Petroleum Far East on Wednesday against Crystal Cruises and Star Cruises Limited.

The seizure of the ship would be used to repay a $1.2 million unpaid fuel bill, owed by the cruise ship’s operator, Genting Hong Kong Ltd.

According to the complaint, obtained by USA Today, Crystal Cruises, and one of its sister lines, Star Cruises, owes Peninsula Petroleum some $4.6 million dollars in unpaid fuel bills dating back to 2021 with slightly more than $1 million of that debt coming from the Crystal Symphony alone.

The matter comes just days after Crystal Cruises’ owner filed for bankruptcy after loan payments were due and could not be paid. 

The company’s Asia-based Dream Cruises and Star Cruises have reportedly had booking engines go offline, meanwhile booking still remains available for Crystal Cruises.

About Sloan Smith

Sloan Smith is a senior digital reporter at Eyewitness News, covering a diverse range of beats, from politics and crime to environment and human interest. In 2018, Sloan received a nomination for the “Leslie Higgs Feature Writer of The Year Award” from The Bahamas Press Club for her work with Eyewitness News.