Debtors circling idled Nova Star ferry in Portland

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PORTLAND — The city has joined the list of businesses seeking more than $1 million in court-ordered payments from the owners of the Nova Star ferry.

In two Nov. 9 filings in U.S. District Court, the city and Portland Development Corp. sought a total of $236,500 from Nova Star Cruises.

The city has asked the court for an award of $85,000 for overdue and accrued lease payments at Ocean Gateway Terminal for the period ending Nov. 15. The quasi-governmental PDC is seeking repayment of $151,000 for money it advanced to modify and improve the Nova Star’s berthing area.

Nova Star Cruises spokesman Dennis Bailey said Tuesday the ship’s owners had no comment on the debts, except assurances made Nov. 2 that all outstanding bills will be paid.

The 528-foot ship has been moored in Casco Bay off the Eastern Promenade since Oct. 30, when Magistrate John Rich III ordered it seized in lieu of payment of $196,000 to the Portland Pilots for unpaid services.

The owners must repay all lienholders before the Nova Star is released.

The ship is now in the custody of National Maritime Services. On Nov. 5, Portland Pilots attorney Twain Braden petitioned the court to ensure other parties seeking repayment of debts would share in the custody costs that had reached $8,000 on that date.

On Nov. 4, Sprague Operating Resources filed a motion seeking repayment of almost $300,000 in unpaid fuel bills dating to June 12. On the same day, city-based Brown Ship Services filed a motion seeking $48,000 for supplies.

Those filings followed a Nov. 9 motion by Texas-based World Fuel Services seeking $491,000 for unpaid fuel and interest.

The Nova Star provided daily service to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, beginning in 2014. On Oct. 30, Geoff MacLellan, Nova Scotia minister of transportation and infrastructure renewal, announced his department would negotiate with Bay Ferries Ltd. for service to Portland in 2016.

Bay Ferries operated the high-speed Cat service from Portland to Nova Scotia until the service was discontinued after the 2009 season. 

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Debtors including the city of Portland have pushed claims against the Nova Star ferry past $1 million.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.