In a stunning move, a Miami court has issued an arrest warrant for the crystal symphony cruise ship in an effort to recover assets for unpaid fuel bills. The cruise ship has now been diverted from its current route and it is unclear how or if the vessel may be confiscated.
Arrest warrant issued for crystal symphony
U.S. Federal District Judge Darrin Gayles granted the arrest order for the cruise ship on January 20, 2022, just days after the ship’s parent company, Genting Hong Kong, filed for bankruptcy. Due to this filing, Crystal Cruises had previously announced the suspension of all ocean and river cruises, although ships currently sailing were expected to complete itineraries already in progress.
Ocean cruises, including planned itineraries for crystal symphony, are currently suspended until April 29, 2022.
The arrest warrant was issued in response to a civil complaint filed by fuel supplier Peninsula Petroleum Far East Pte. ltd. In addition to naming the ship crystal symphony as defendant, global line Crystal Cruises as well as Star Cruises, also owned by Genting Hong Kong, were also named as defendants.
According to Petroleum Far East, the total claims are $1.2 million against crystal symphony, $2.1 million against Crystal Cruises and $1.3 million against Star Cruises, with unpaid bills dating back to 2017.
The arrest warrant was issued in an attempt to collect this outstanding debt, especially now that the parent company has declared bankruptcy.
What does it mean to stop a cruise ship?
Obviously, a cruise ship cannot be “arrested” in the sense of handcuffs, jail time, and court appearances. The ship can, however, be seized and impounded until the lawsuit is settled and the debts paid. It is possible that when a vessel is seized, valuables on board – such as retail inventory, casino cash reserves, etc. – be counted as partial payment of unpaid debts.
Since the lawsuit and arrest warrant were issued by a U.S. district court, federal marshals would be involved to locate the vessel and enforce orders, although that is yet to be confirmed.
Where is crystal symphony?
When the arrest warrant was issued, crystal symphony was in the midst of a Caribbean cruise with a scheduled landing in Miami on January 22. Due to the bankruptcy filing, trial and arrest warrant, however, this is no longer the ship’s route.
According to reports from passengers on board, the ship is now being diverted to Bimini in the Bahamas, which is due to arrive on January 22 due to a “Non-technical problem” with original landing plans. Although no official explanation has been given for this hijacking, it is likely in response to the arrest warrant, so the vessel cannot be seized immediately.
Passengers will then be transported via Balearia Caribbean, a fast ferry service, to Fort Lauderdale and then receive ground transportation to their choice of PortMiami, Miami International Airport or Fort Lauderdale International Airport -Hollywood.
Assistance is also likely to be made available with travel plans to return home, if needed, as passengers will not return to Miami as planned, and flight plans will likely need to be adjusted for many travellers.
What will happen to Crystal Cruises?
At this time, it is unclear what the future holds for Crystal Cruises or its ships. Refunds for paid bookings that are now canceled may be in jeopardy, as the cruise line‘s overall assets could be frozen until legal issues are resolved.
Another possible scenario is that another cruise line could get involved, buying Crystal Cruises and assuming some of its debt in exchange for those assets, which would then be managed by the new line.
The ships could be refurbished into a new cruise line, revamped for a revitalized Crystal Cruises, or even sold for scrap.
The future is uncertain for a once-respected and beloved luxury cruise line. Crystal Cruises has been providing passengers with incredible voyages since its inception in 1988, and the line no doubt has many loyal passengers who look forward to seeing it continue to sail for many years to come. What is certain, however, is that the cruise line is not giving up.
In a statement on the cruise line’s website, Crystal Cruises President Jack Anderson said: “Crystal has been synonymous with luxury cruising for over 30 years and we look forward to welcoming our valued guests back when we resume operations. We would like to thank our guests and travel advisors for their incredible support during these difficult times. »
At this time, passengers with future bookings should stay in close contact with their travel advisors or Crystal Cruises directly for updates and information, but please be aware that the situation may be tumultuous and it may s elapse weeks or months before the procedure is resolved.