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Coast Guard: US-Bimini cruise not ready to sail

July 3, 2013

MIAMI (AP) — A cruise ship that will carry passengers from South Florida to the Bahamian island of Bimini isn’t ready yet for its maiden voyage, a U.S. Coast Guard official said Wednesday.

Some issues have been resolved since the Bimini SuperFast failed an initial inspection, but the operators still must resolve deficiencies related to fire safety and emergency power as well as other issues, said Cmdr. Janet Espino-Young, chief of the inspection division at Coast Guard Sector Miami.

The 613-foot Bimini SuperFast is operated by Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group. It will carry passengers twice a day to the company’s Resorts World Bimini resort and casino. The island in the Bahamas is about 50 miles east of Miami.

The ship, which can carry about 1,500 passengers, was supposed to start runs on Friday but the Coast Guard wouldn’t issue the safety certificate. The deficiencies included a failed emergency drill and an equipment failure that prevented the lowering of lifeboats, Espino-Young said. Both of those issues have been corrected.

The ship, built in 2001, had previously operated in Greece and did not have to meet U.S. safety requirements.

Both the company and the Coast Guard said they are working to resolve the situation.