Federal judge orders seizure of Maine-Nova Scotia ferry
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A federal judge in Maine has ordered marshals to seize the ferry that runs between Maine and Nova Scotia after a Portland company claimed it’s owed more than $200,000.
The Portland Press Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1ivWUkq ) the order over the Nova Star ferry was issued Friday.
Portland Pilots claim the company hasn’t been paid since mid-August for piloting the ferry.
The order came a day after the Nova Scotia government said it was giving the boot to Maine-based Nova Star Cruises and giving another shot to a company that previously operated the service between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
Nova Star Cruises spokesman Dennis Bailey told the Press Herald the company will “fulfill its obligations, like it always has, in the next few weeks.”
On Oct. 26, the province announced that it had given the company its final $1.5 million payment for the season. The money is the last installment of nearly $10 million ($13 million Canadian) in funding for Nova Star’s 2015 sailing season.
Nova Star Cruises has been heavily criticized in Nova Scotia because its ferry service cost taxpayers there millions of dollars more than anticipated. The ferry this year carried a total of 52,000 passengers, a 12 percent decline from its inaugural season last year, when it carried 59,000 passengers.
When Nova Star undertook its maiden voyage in May 2014, operators anticipated it would carry more than 100,000 passengers a year.
The 212-mile Atlantic crossing takes about 10 hours and costs adults about $180 round trip. The ferry also transports bicycles, motorcycles and cars for an additional fee.
Nova Scotia’s Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan announced Thursday that the government had entered into talks with Bay Ferries, which previously operated a high-speed catamaran on the route.
Mark MacDonald, the chief executive of Bay Ferries, said in a statement last week that the company wants to work with the province in “rebuilding this key transportation corridor.” The company currently operates ferry service between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.