October 16, 2019
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Seizure of Nova Star slots sought as ferry’s debt claims top $2.3 million

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Workmen install slot machines aboard the Nova Star on May 9, 2014, in Portland.

PORTLAND, Maine — The owner of slot machines and other casino gaming equipment aboard the luxury cruise ferry Nova Star wants permission to seize its property, as other vendors in court filings have claimed more than $2.3 million in unpaid bills from Nova Star Cruises.

The latest filings add to claims filed against the ship since a complaint of $195,897 in unpaid bills by Portland Pilots Inc. for piloting the cruise vessel in and out of the harbor.

International casino company Century Resorts International Ltd., based in Vienna, Austria, filed its motion to seize property Wednesday. Dubai-based fuel supplier Cockett Marine claimed more than $1 million in unpaid bills from Nova Star Cruises.

The claim from Cockett puts the total unpaid bills filed so far in the case at more than $2.3 million.

Dennis Bailey, a spokesman for Nova Star Cruises, said earlier this month that the company “will be settling all of its outstanding obligations, as it always has, in the next few weeks.”

He said one week ago that Nova Star Cruises is not commenting further on the claims against the ship, which remains under control of a custodian until the debts are paid, the company posts a bond or the court allows the ship to be sold to settle the debts.

Nova Star Cruises has a lease for the ship, which is owned by Singapore Technologies Marine Ltd., which is a subsidiary of S.T. Engineering.

ST Marine on Friday submitted in U.S. District Court in Portland a statement of its interest in the ship and a request to defend the claims against the ship from debtors.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John Rich one week ago approved the ship’s arrest after the complaint filed by Portland Pilots.

Earlier this week, the city of Portland and the Portland Development Corp. also filed claims in the case, related to a loan to Nova Star Cruises to make certain improvements to the Ocean Gateway Terminal where the ship docked and for berthing payments.

The city claimed it is owed about $85,000 in berthing fees, and the Portland Development Corp. claimed about $151,000 in connection with the loan.

The mounting debts claimed by vendors come after the close of the ship’s second and likely final season traveling between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

The Nova Scotia government gave the company about $31.5 million ($41.5 million Canadian) in subsidies to operate that line during the two seasons, disbursing another $1.9 million (Canadian) to the company on Oct. 20.

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