PORTLAND, Maine — A court granted the city of Portland the right to intervene in the arrest of the Nova Star luxury cruise ferry against objections from the ship’s owner, who has paid about $2 million in bills and seeks to move its ship and crew out of the harbor.

The city late Tuesday afternoon joined uniform company Pratt-Abbott in winning court permission to intervene in the case.

Singapore-based ship owner ST Marine has steadily settled debts, but a few parties still claim they are owed money.

On Monday, World Fuel Services said the company had settled up. The company claimed the ship’s operator owed about $480,000.

ST Marine on Tuesday opposed the city’s request to intervene in the case, arguing it has paid back the parties granted warrants for the ship’s arrest.

After the court allowed the city and Pratt-Abbott to intervene late Tuesday, the company filed a motion to get permission to post a bond to secure those claims, in lieu of the ship itself. That would allow it to take the ship out of the harbor while the disputed debts are settled.

The city, in its emergency request Monday to intervene, wrote that discussions with ST Marine indicated the company had plans to remove the ship from the harbor as early as Wednesday.

ST Marine has asked the court to validate or invalidate the remaining claims in the case promptly, as the vessel still has members of its crew aboard.

“The crew includes foreign nationals who are prohibited by the government of the United States from leaving the vessel; and the vessel of course is prohibited from leaving the port,” the ship owners wrote in a court filing Tuesday.

The ship, flagged in the Bahamas, had an on-board crew of about 130 people in its first season. It was not immediately clear late Tuesday how many remained on board.

The ship was placed under arrest on Oct. 30.

Another company, the Norwegian company DNV GL AS, on Tuesday sought to intervene in the case, too, claiming it’s owed about $34,075 for ship inspection services.

Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.