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Crystal Symphony diverts to Bahamas after arrest warrant issued over unpaid fuel

By Adam Schrader
Crystal Symphony diverts to Bahamas after arrest warrant issued over unpaid fuel
Cruise ship Crystal Symphony departs from the inner harbor of the Port of Fremantle in Western Australia in 2018. Photo courtesy Bahnfrend/Wikimedia

Jan. 23 (UPI) -- The Crystal Symphony cruise ship diverted to the Bahamas on Saturday in a bid to avoid an arrest warrant over unpaid fuel expenses.

The unplanned trip to Bimini was revealed by passengers and crew members on the ship who shared their outrage to social media after being forced to arrange their own travel home.

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Elio Pace, a performer based in Britain who works on the Crystal Symphony, tweeted that the crew and passengers were notified by the captain that the ship would not arrive in Miami but instead would divert to Bimini where it would arrive Sunday.

"We were notified by the captain that the company that owns Crystal Cruises, Genting Hong Kong, had gone into liquidation to the tune of $4 billion," Pace tweeted. "We were told that we would all need to disembark the ship and make our way home."

The diversion came days after Peninsula Petroleum, a marine fuel supplier and reseller, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging that Crystal Cruises and Star Cruises, and one of its sister lines, owes about $4.6 million in unpaid fuel bills.

The lawsuit states that the Crystal Symphony alone had received two deliveries of fuel worth over $600,000 for cruises operated by both the Crystal Cruises and Star Cruises lines.

Peninsula Petroleum requested that a judge issue an arrest warrant for the ship, which was granted on Thursday, according to a copy of the warrant obtained by UPI.

The warrant directed a U.S. Marshal to arrest the "vessel, her boats, tackle, apparel and furniture, engines and appurtenances, and to detain the same in your custody pending further order of the court" if the ship were to enter U.S. waters.

The Crystal Symphony, which is flagged to the Bahamas, is owned by Genting Hong Kong - the parent company of both the U.S.-based operator Crystal Cruises and Star Cruises.

Crystal Cruises announced it would temporarily halt sailings this week after Genting Hong Kong announced that it had filed for bankruptcy.

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The company said in court filings that it will "imminently be unable to pay its debts as they fall due," CNBC reported earlier this week.

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