The government of St. Kitts and Nevis said Friday it barred a gay and nudist cruise from stopping in Nevis because of concerns of illegal public nudity onshore, not because the passengers were gay.
Port authorities stopped a ship carrying 110 mostly American passengers and 35 crew members early Wednesday as it approached the port in Nevis's capital, Charlestown.
Nevis tourism minister Malcolm Guishard said Friday that when customs officials boarded the ship most passengers were naked, and the captain couldn't guarantee they would be clothed onshore--something the captain has denied. Public nudity is illegal in St. Kitts and Nevis.
"If this ship had been chartered by a heterosexual clothing-optional group, our decision would have been exactly the same," Guishard said.
The cruise is set to end Saturday in St. Maarten, a Dutch Caribbean territory. The cruise company, Windjammer Barefoot Cruises, is based in Miami Beach, Fla., and the cruise was organized by Miami-based company Source Events. (AP)