Cruise ship changes course after US judge orders seizure

LA PAZ, MEXICO - MAY 08: The Koningsdam cruise ship from the company Holland America Line anchored off the Bahia de la Paz spews pollutants into the air and into the Gulf of California, during a protest against cruise ships industry on May 8, 2021 in La Paz, Mexico. Many cruise ships have arrived since february to sit anchored off at Bahía de la Paz in the Mexican State of Baja California Sur, most of them coming from Los Angeles area. According to some environmentalist groups, the ships are spilling oil and other susbtances as a result of their activity with no punishment form the local or federal authorities. Diverse organization and inhabitants of La Paz have gathered to ask the government to move away the ships. (Photo by Alfredo Martinez/Getty Images)
MIAMI (AP) — A cruise ship that was supposed to dock in Miami sailed to the Bahamas instead after a U.S. judge granted an order to seize the vessel as part of a lawsuit over unpaid fuel.

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

Passengers told news outlets that they’ll be taken by ferry to a South Florida port Sunday. It was unclear how many passengers were aboard, with one news outlet reporting 300 and another, 700. According to the company website, the vessel can carry up to 848 passengers.

The ship was scheduled to land in Miami on Saturday. But a federal judge in Miami issued an arrest warrant for the ship on Thursday, a maritime practice where a U.S. Marshal goes aboard the vessel and takes charge of it once it enters U.S. waters.

The lawsuit was filed in a Miami federal court by Peninsula Petroleum Far East against the ship under a maritime procedure that allows actions against vessels for unpaid debts. The complaint says Crystal Symphony was chartered or managed by Crystal Cruises and Star Cruises, which are both sued for breach of contract for owing $4.6 million in fuel.

Crystal Cruises announced earlier this week that it was suspending operations through late April. Besides Crystal Symphony, it has two other ships currently cruising, which end their voyages on Jan. 30 in Aruba and on Feb. 4 in Argentina.

“Suspending operations will provide Crystal’s management team with an opportunity to evaluate the current state of business and examine various options moving forward,” said the company in a statement earlier this week.

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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