In one of the wildest stories in a while, Crystal Cruises was just served an arrest warrant. The legal trouble comes during an already rough period for the company. Just last week they announced that they were canceling all of their ocean itineraries until April. Their river cruises are paused for even longer, with the return of these smaller sailings happening in June 2022. The arrest warrant, however, is a completely different situation. If you’re curious as to what’s going on with this unexpected tale of maritime malfeasance, read on.
On January 24th, multiple news outlets noticed and reported on the fact that Crystal Symphony was docked in the Bahamas. This was unusual, as Symphony was not supposed to still be sailing past Saturday, January 22nd. It was on a Caribbean cruise with a few hundred guests (the Associated Press notes that the reported numbers of guests onboard seem to conflict with one another). This cruise was supposed to end in Miami on Saturday, yet it was unable to complete in the intended way. Many guests, however, were able to disembark the ship on Saturday before it carried off to the Bahamas. But why did things get so complicated?
The strange situation with Symphony can be tracked to the fact that a lawsuit was filed against Crystal Cruises on Wednesday, January 19th. The plaintiff was Peninsula Petroleum Far East. The company alleged that Crystal and Star Cruises, the two cruise lines owned by Genting Hong Kong, had essentially stolen fuel. The suit stated that Crystal Symphony had used $4.6 million worth of fuel without paying for it, and Peninsula Petroleum asked for the ship to be taken into custody. On Thursday, January 20th, a judge issued an arrest warrant and declared that the ship must be controlled by the court. Although Crystal has yet to issue any comments on the situation, this is most likely why the ship is waiting in the Bahamas rather than in Miami. It is unclear whether the ship has been taken into custody yet or not.
As part of the court’s decision, two executives at Genting stepped down from their positions. Tan Sir Lim Kok, CEO, and Au Fook Yew, Deputy CEO, are now set to be replaced by Joint Provisional Liquidators as appointed by a Bermuda Court.
This is a pretty dramatic story, and the end hasn’t even been told yet. We’ll make sure to keep you updated on how the legal proceedings play out moving forward.