A cruise ship carrying over 2,500 Chinese passengers has been detained at Jeju Port for three days due to a legal spat between the cruise line and ship owner. Passengers had to be flown back to China by chartered plane on Sunday.
The Jeju District Court last Friday ordered the provisional seizure of the 47,678-ton luxury cruise Henna in Jeju Port after a Korean shipping company filed for the seizure on behalf of the Chinese owner.
The filing resulted from a dispute between the cruise operator HNA Tourism and the ship owner Jiangsu Shagang International. HNA Tourism allegedly failed to pay back W60 billion (US$1=W1,087) it owed Jiangsu Shagang International. The creditor is demanding a W3 billion deposit, about five percent of the debt.
The Henna left Tianjin and arrived at Jeju Port on Friday morning and was to sail for Incheon that same afternoon. But the seizure order detained 2,520 people -- 1,659 passengers and 861 crew -- onboard. Most of the passengers were Chinese and one Korean.
Passengers protested and most went back to Beijing on eight charter planes the cruise operator finally managed to arrange on Sunday afternoon.