Rogue cruise ships wanted for millions in unpaid bills seized by authorities in Bahamas: report

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Two Crystal Cruises ships that were diverted to the Bahamas in an attempt to avoid a warrant in the United States for unpaid warrants have been seized by authorities.

The Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity were boarded by authorities near Freeport, Bahamas, on Friday night in relation to a US warrant for unpaid fuel bills of at least $4.6 million, according to Daily Mail

Boston, MA – August 18: A pedestrian watches as the Crystal Symphony cruise ship arrives at Flynn Cruiseport in Boston, MA on August 18, 2021. The ship is scheduled to depart Sunday for a weeklong trip to Bermuda. ((Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images))

No passengers were on the ships at the time of the seizure but crew members were escorted off the ship and released.

The Crystal Serenity was originally scheduled to take about 200 passengers on a three-and-a-half month expedition, but two days after leaving Miami on Jan. 17, the company announced it would suspend operations through April. The ship canceled several port calls since then.

Passengers were told the ship would end the cruise in Aruba, but then local officials did not allow the ship to dock this weekend, so the ship was diverted to Bimini, a company spokesman said. The cruise line then ferried the passengers to Fort Lauderdale and taken to hotel rooms Monday night.

FILE – In this May, 21, 2013, file photo, the cruise liner Crystal Symphony leaves the harbor in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith, File) (AP Newsroom)

The Crystal Symphony was supposed to return to Miami on Jan. 22, but instead changed its course to Bimini, also offloading and ferrying passengers to Fort Lauderdale.

A federal judge overseeing a lawsuit that accuses the cruise line of failing to pay $4.6 million for fuel issued the warrant for the Crystal Symphony on Jan. 20. The maritime order authorizes U.S. Marshals to board a vessel and take charge once it approaches the U.S. coast.

It is unclear how U.S. Marshals commandeered the two ships as they do not have jurisdiction in the Bahamas.

The U.S. Marshals did not immediately return a request for comment from Fox News.

(Photo courtesy Crystal Cruises)

The company announced it was suspending operations through late April to "provide Crystal’s management team with an opportunity to evaluate the current state of business and examine various options moving forward."

The cruise line’s parent company, Genting Hong Kong, has been struggling with the effects of the pandemic on its shipping and cruise businesses. Last month, one of its shipyards filed for bankruptcy protection in Germany.

Associated Press contributed to this report

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