ORLANDO-Premier Cruise Lines’ promised refunds to 2,500 passengers could hit a record $15 million. That’s the amount of the surety bond the Port Canaveral, FL-based operator has placed with the Federal Maritime Commission.

The operator’s four ships were seized Sept. 14 on the high seas in three countries by New York investment banker Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette after the line missed its August mortgage payment. The ships are collateral for the unspecified loan. Premier lost $20 million in 1999 and $70 million in 1998.

The federal agency is contacting Greenwich Insurance Co., the underwriter of the $15 million bond, to set up a refund payment process.

The largest passenger refund in the commission’s 34-year history is the $12.5 million paid out by Regency Cruises in 1995.

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