Reports from multiple sources, including CruiseLawNews, Crew-Center.com, and DailyMail.com say that two Crystal Cruises ships — Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity — have been placed under arrest in Freeport, The Bahamas.
The cruise line made headlines last month when its parent company Genting Hong Kong reported financial difficulties. As a result, Crystal announced that it would pause voyages for several months.
Then came news that the cruise line had an issue with allegedly unpaid fuel bills, leading to an arrest warrant for at least one of the ships. Instead of returning to Florida as originally planned and risk having the vessel seized, the cruise line instead diverted to The Bahamas and arranged for a ferry back to the United States for passengers.
Now it’s reported that the two ships have been seized anyway. A video posted by Crew Center to Twitter appeared to have an announcement on one of the ships explaining the situation to the crew members still onboard:
Crystal Symphony Captain announcement addressed to the crew. The cruise ship has been arrested in Freeport, Bahamas. Crystal Serenity was also arrested in Freeport. pic.twitter.com/cdBNyHf4s5
— Crew Center (@CrewCenter) February 5, 2022
“The ship has been placed under arrest by the local authorities over some unpaid bills. And as bad as it sounds, it’s actually quite a good thing to happen. We’ve been told that this will not affect any personal movement. So the crew movement and crew sign-offs can still go as planned, and we are in process of preparing those. So some unfortunate news, but it was actually quite expected,” the video said.
According to DailyMail.com, the ships were seized on Friday night and there are no guests onboard. It’s not clear what authority or agency arrested the ships.
CruiseMapper.com currently shows both ships sitting off the coast of Freeport:
Assuming the reports are accurate, it’s not clear what will happen with the ships or the crew onboard. Reports say the issue stems from unpaid fuel charges totaling $4.6 million. While nothing to scoff at, this would appear a relatively modest amount compared to the cost and bad publicity of having a ship seized. We would hope some sort of resolution would be reached soon.
Notably, Crystal Symphony and Serenity
are both listed for sale on YachtWorld.com, a brokerage site for ship sales. (Update: The listings for the two ships have now been removed from the website.)