Cruise ship headed to Miami changes course after judge orders seizure

A cruise ship that was scheduled to dock in South Florida sailed to the Bahamas after a U.S. judge granted an order to seize the vessel, The Associated Press reported.

>> Read more trending news

The order was granted due to unpaid fuel bills, according to court documents obtained by USA Today. The warrant enabled authorities to take custody of the ship, and it would have been met by U.S. Marshals had it docked in the Miami area.

Cruise trackers showed that the Crystal Symphony was currently docked in the Bahamian island of Bimini, according to the AP. It was supposed to dock at Port Everglades.

The cruise ship’s 700 passengers and crew have been on board an extra day, WSVN-TV reported.

Officials told the television station that passengers are scheduled to arrive in Port Everglades by ferry Sunday afternoon and will be processed.

A federal judge in Miami issued the arrest warrant for the ship on Thursday, a maritime practice where a U.S. Marshal goes aboard the vessel and takes charge of it when it enters U.S. waters, the AP reported.

A complaint against the cruise ship’s parent company Crystal Cruises, and one of its sister lines, Star Cruises, was filed by Peninsula Petroleum, WPLG-TV reported.

In the complaint, Peninsula Petroleum claims the two cruise lines owe it $4.6 million dollars in unpaid fuel bills since last year, with slightly more than $1 million owed by the Crystal Symphony ship, the television station reported.

Miami-based Crystal Cruises said it is suspending ocean voyages through the end of April, the Miami Herald reported. Its parent company, Genting Hong Kong, warned investors that it expects to run out of money by the end of the month.

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

Besides Crystal Symphony, Crystal Cruises still has two other ships currently cruising, the AP reported. One ends its voyage on Jan. 30, while the other docks in Argentina on Feb. 4.