Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity casino cruise ship seized for unpaid fuel bills

genting_hong_kong_crystal_cruises_ships_seized_in_bahamasTwo of Genting Hong Kong’s Crystal Cruise ships were reportedly seized by authorities Friday due to unpaid fuel bills totaling some US$4.6 million, according to Cruise Law News and subsequent reports over the weekend.

Genting Hong Kong is owned by Malaysian billionaire Lim Kok Thay of Resorts World Casinos fame. Aside from Lim’s now lost $250 million stake in Genting Hong Kong and the fact that Resorts World at Sea Casinos were operating on the ships, there is no financial relationship between the cruise line and his gaming empire.

Members of the crew on the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity confirmed that the ships had been “arrested” after diverting to the Bahamas to escape legal action related to a lawsuit over the alleged past-due fuel bills.

Steered Clear of U.S. Waters

Crystal Serenity had been refused permission to dock in Aruba and diverted to Bimini in order to disembark passengers where it came into the same area as Crystal Symphony. The latter skipped a port of call on Miami two weeks ago in order to stay clear of US waters.

As of press time, it was unclear how US authorities had commandeered the ships outside of their jurisdiction, suggesting some cooperation with local authorities in Freeport near where the ships were located. Both ships sail under the Bahamian flag.

A lawsuit in Florida filed by fuel supplier Peninsula Petroleum Far East against Crystal Cruises claimed unpaid bills going as far back as 2017 for the Crystal Symphony. A judge in Florida issued an arrest warrant for that ship in January. The lawsuit also details unpaid fuel bills for Star Cruises’ Crystal Serenity. Attorneys for the supplier said after the warrant was issued that U.S. Marshals were prepared to seize Crystal Symphony if it docked in or near Miami.

No Customers Onboard Commandeered Vessels

No customers were on board the ships when they were seized, according to reports quoting Crystal Cruises spokespersons.

The cruise line announced last month that the two ships sailing in the Caribbean as well as a third ship, Crystal Endeavor sailing in Antarctica, would go on hiatus until April 29 earliest after their current voyages were complete. The announcement came on the news that Crystal Cruises’ parent company Genting Hong Kong had filed for liquidation after posting debts of nearly US$2.8 billion.

Genting Hong Kong had initially stated that it would carry on in the business in Asia via Dream Cruises, but that subsidiary filed for winding up last week.

Genting Hong Kong is run by Malaysian billionaire Lim Kok Thay. Last month his German shipyard unit MV Werften declared bankruptcy. Within a week Lim filed with financial authorities to wind up the company and resigned as CEO and chairman. Lim’s forties have reportedly dropped some 30% over the last year.

Lim controls Genting Group with casinos in Bimini, Egypt, Malaysia, Singapore, the U.K., Las Vegas, and New York. The company also controls oil and gas operations as well as palm oil plantations.

Source: Rogue cruise ships Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity are SEIZED by authorities in Bahamas after diverting to the islands to avoid US warrant over $4.6M in unpaid fuel bills, DailyMail.UK, February 5, 2022

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