Crystal Cruises‘ Crystal Symphony cruise ship abruptly changed course on Saturday, heading for the Bahamian island of Bimini instead of sailing to Miami, Florida, after a US judge ordered its seizure due to $4.6 million in unpaid fuel bills.
The US judge’s ruling came after a lawsuit was filed in a Miami court by Peninsula Petroleum Far East seeking action against the vessel as compensation for unpaid debts.
The lawsuit claims that Crystal Cruises and Star Cruises, which chartered and managed Crystal Symphony, are in breach of contract with Peninsula Petroleum Far East, owing the company $4.6 million in unpaid fuel bills.
Crystal Symphony’s parent company, Crystal Cruises, announced earlier last week that it had suspended operations and was entering liquidation.
“Suspending operations will provide Crystal’s management team with an opportunity to evaluate the current state of business and examine various options moving forward,” Crystal Cruises said in a statement prior to starting the liquidation process.
For seven hundred Crystal Symphony’s passengers, their 14-day Caribbean voyage came to unexpected and abrupt end over the weekend, when their cruise ship refused to return to the US, seeking refuge in the Bahamas instead.
Crystal Symphony passengers were reportedly taken by ferry to Fort Lauderdale or local airports after the unscheduled diversion.
Crystal Cruises currently has two other vessels in the middle of voyages, with one set to end its trip in Aruba on January 30 and another in Argentina on February 4.