Crystal Symphony ducks Florida and docks instead in Bahamas

Under threat of arrest if it docked in Miami, the Crystal Symphony (IMO 9066667), as had been predicted, diverted to The Bahamas – accompanied by 300 paying passengers. After Genting Hong Kong applied for provisional liquidation last week in a Bermuda court, bunker supplier Peninsula Petroleum Far East secured a US federal court order for Crystal Symphony’s arrest.

According to Peninsula, Genting owed it about $5m for fuel deliveries to Crystal Cruises’ two ships in Miami and Star Cruises’ Superstar Libra in Penang, Malaysia. The complaint included charges of $1.2m against Crystal Symphony, $2.1m against Crystal Cruises and nearly $1.3m against Star Cruises Hong Kong. District Judge Darrin Gayles approved the requested order, and a warrant for the arrest of the Crystal Symphony was issued as soon as it returned to Miami.

That return is unlikely to be soon. Instead of returning to its home port, the Crystal Symphony disembarked its passengers in Bimini, the westernmost district of the Bahamas and some 50 miles east of Miami. Crystal Cruises arranged for ferry transportation to take them all back to Port Everglades, Florida for onward travel.

Crystal Cruises had previously announced that it would be suspending operations through until April.

The Bermuda court appointed management consulting firm of Alvarez & Marsal to oversee the company’s reorganization. Genting Hong Kong Chairman and CEO Lim Kok Thay has resigned.

The hope of the administrators is to negotiate an arrangement with Genting Hong Kong’s creditors and continue as a going concern, although asset sales of part of the group have not been ruled out. Creditors, meanwhile, will be seeking to put themselves nearer the front of the queue when it comes to getting paid. Legal applications for seizure of assets are not uncommon.

The resignation of Lim Kok Thay, who owns 76% of Genting Hong Kong, became effective on January 21st. Au Fook Yew also resigned as deputy CEO and president. Genting Hong Kong said that neither man has any disagreement with the board.

The problems facing Genting Hong Kong, the origins of which hark back to 1993 when Lim wanted to diversify away from Genting’s Malaysia-based casino interests, look unlikely to have major ramifications for other Genting operations. Businesses in Malaysia and Singapore — namely Genting Bhd, Genting Singapore Ltd. and Genting Malaysia Bhd — have no cross-shareholdings with Genting Hong Kong except for Lim Kok Thay being a common stakeholder in all four.

1995-built, Bahamas-flagged, 51,044 gt Crystal Symphony is owned by Symphony Holdings Ltd care of Crystal Cruises of Los Angeles, California. It is entered with UK Club on behalf of Symphony Holdings Ltd.