Cruise ship gets arrested in Iqaluit and it's a rare occurrence, says official

The RCGS Resolute cruise ship spent a brief period of time under arrest earlier this month, while it was anchored in Iqaluit.

The Nunavut sheriff's office received a statement of claim and warrant from the Federal Court in Halifax and was requested to carry out the Aug. 9 arrest.

The statement of claim filed with the Federal Court lists the RCGS Resolute and its owners, including the B.C.-based tour company One Ocean Expeditions, as defendants. The claim states the defendants owed nearly $100,000 to a Nova Scotia-based company Atship Services Ltd. The allegations haven't been proven in court.

The sheriff's office was first contacted in the afternoon of Aug. 8, and set about filing all the correct paperwork, said Thomas Peyton, acting manager of sheriffs for the Nunavut Court of Justice.

David Gunn/CBC News

Peyton said the sheriffs went to the docks the next day. They got connected with the beach master who organized the cruise ship to send out a Zodiac — a type of inflatable boat — for the officers.

When they arrived at the cruise ship, they were greeted by the captain.

What stood out was it was an actual cruise ship that needed to be arrested. It does not happen very often. - Thomas Peyton, Nunavut Court of Justice

"We served him the documents that placed the vessel under arrest," Peyton said. The arrest meant the ship couldn't move until a further court order arrived.

"It's not like we can tie a rope to it and have the vessel actually not move. It's under the understanding that the captain is aware of it, he contacts his superiors and the boat doesn't move until further notice," Peyton said.

A few hours later, the sherrifs received word that RCGS Resolute could be released and was free to continue the journey, Peyton said.

During the arrest passengers were still able to travel to and from the ship, and most had arrived in Iqaluit before the arrest happened.

While the sheriff's office has seized vehicles and even small boats in the past, the cruise ship arrest was a first, Peyton said.

"What stood out was it was an actual cruise ship that needed to be arrested. It does not happen very often," Peyton said.