Source: Scientology ship avoiding Dutch waters after evading surprise government search - 2017-06-21
One of the reasons that L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, invaded the town of Clearwater, Florida in 1975 to make it Scientology's "spiritual" headquarters, was that he was running out of ports where he was welcome. Hubbard had set sail in 1967 with a ragtag group of young followers who traveled with him on three ships, eventually renamed the Apollo, the Athena, and the Diana. For the next eight years, Hubbard ran the worldwide organization from the Apollo, his flagship, except for several months he spent hiding out in a couple of apartments in Queens, New York in 1972-1973.
One of the reasons why the small armada kept on the move through the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and finally the Caribbean was that it got chased away from numerous ports by governments that eventually figured out what was going on and that the ships were not a floating "school," as the cover story went. Finally, with very few ports left, in 1975 Hubbard made plans to come back to land, and surreptitiously began buying up properties in Clearwater while hiding out in Daytona.
Today, Scientology carries on its sailing tradition with the Freewinds, a private cruise ship which is the only place where wealthy Scientologists can attain the highest step on the "Bridge to Total Freedom," the auditing level known as "Operating Thetan Eight." (For a fun look at OT 8's wacky early history, see our story about a man named George White.) The Freewinds also hosts other expensive week-long seminars for Scientologists, and it is the site of a very special week of festivities known as "Maiden Voyage," which takes place in June and commemorates the formal launching of the Freewinds as Scientology's ultimate destination in 1988.