Cruise diverted to Bahamas after arrest warrant issued for Crystal Symphony

Passengers shuttled back to South Florida from Bimini on ferries

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A cruise line is in a state of chaos after unpaid fuel bills caused a Miami judge to issue an arrest warrant for the Crystal Symphony cruise ship.

It’s owned by the ultra-luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises.

The warrant gives authorities the ability to seize the ship if it enters U.S. waters.

As a result, the ship is currently docked in Bimini instead of returning to South Florida.

Local 10 News’ cameras captured passengers being brought to Port Everglades on ferries from the Bahamas on Sunday afternoon.

“We were all very scared, we didn’t know what was going to happen until this morning,” said passenger Shauna Wiest. “We did not know if we were going to get off the ship.”

This comes just days after Crystal Cruises suspended all sailings following a bankruptcy filing by its owner, Genting Hong Kong.

Local 10 News obtained a copy of that complaint which was filed by a fuel company called Peninsula Petroleum.

In the complaint, Peninsula Petroleum claims Crystal Cruises, and one of its sister lines, Star Cruises, owes them some $4.6 million dollars in unpaid fuel bills dating back to last year, with slightly more than $1 million of that debt coming from the Crystal Symphony alone.

According to those documents, “Peninsula has not been paid for the maritime necessities provided to the vessel, and therefore proceeds to arrest it.”

The documents also add that both Crystal and Star Cruises have breached their contracts.

About the Authors:

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.

Joseph Ojo joined Local 10 in April 2021. Born and raised in New York City, he previously worked in Buffalo, North Dakota, Fort Myers and Baltimore.