A cruise ship that was to dock in Miami sailed instead to the Bahamas after an American judge gave an order to seize the vessel as part of a lawsuit about unpaid fuel.
Cruise trackers show the Crystal Symphony, which is currently docked on the island of Bimini in the Bahamas.
Passengers were taken by ferry to the Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.
“We all feel like we were abducted by luxurious pirates!”[ads1]; passenger Stephen Heard Fales posted on Facebook.
It was unclear how many passengers were on board, with a news outlet reporting 300 and another, 700. According to the company’s website, the vessel can carry up to 848 passengers.
The ship was scheduled to land in Miami on Saturday. But a federal judge in Miami issued an arrest warrant for the ship on Thursday, a maritime practice in which a U.S. marshal boardes the vessel and takes responsibility for it when it enters U.S. waters.
Passengers and entertainers said on social media that they were surprised to find out about the trial. A guest posted a letter on Facebook from Crystal Cruises Management stating that the change in itinerary was due to “non-technical operational problems”.
The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Miami by the Peninsula Petroleum Far East against the ship during a maritime procedure that allows actions against vessels for unpaid debt. The complaint states that Crystal Symphony was chartered or administered by Crystal Cruises and Star Cruises, both of which have been sued for breach of contract for owing $ 4.6 million in fuel.
Crystal Cruises announced earlier this week that they will stop operations until the end of April. In addition to the Crystal Symphony, it has two other ships on cruise, which end their voyages on January 30 in Aruba and February 4 in Argentina.
“Stopping operations will give Crystal’s management team an opportunity to evaluate the current business and explore various options going forward,” the company said in a statement earlier this week.