Miami Beach, FL asked in Admiralty / Maritime for Florida

Q: Can I be arrested if I left a cruise ship in Jamaica owing them $6000?

I was on a 7 day cruise from miami and I racked up a $6000 bill in the Casino, I was unable to pay so i Left the Ship at the jamaican port. The ship does not fly under a US Flag. Now the sheriff in miami is threatening me that he is going to get a warrant and arrest me. Is he just pulling my leg or is it possible? Does he have Jurisdiction?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Gordon Charles Webb
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  • Maritime Law Lawyer
  • Seattle, WA

A: Sheriffs usually don't run around making false threats without acting, but if he is for real - and not some rent a cop - you might respectfully ask him for his basis. . . . . We would need more information, i.e. did you destroy property or just drink to much?

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard
  • Freeeport, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I believe the original questioner indicated that it was a gambling debt incurred in the onboard casino.

It doesn't appear to me that a violation of Florida state criminal law has been committed. If not, the Miami sheriff would not have jurisdiction, although there may be a crime under the laws of the nation where the ship is registered. If so, that nation might be able to extradite, but it's not going to happen at the behest of the sheriff.

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