Nova Star ferry released from arrest, leaves Maine in disappointment

The Nova Star, a passenger ferry that ran between Maine and Nova Scotia, was arrested in late October.
The Nova Star, a passenger ferry that ran between Maine and Nova Scotia, was seized by officials in late October. –Tristan Spinski / NYT

For all the hype that the Nova Star ferry received when it arrived in Portland last year, the ship departed New England shores on Wednesday leaving behind a wake of disappointment, The Portland Press-Herald reports.

The departure came a little more than a month after federal officials seized the ferry and ordered it to pay back about $800,000 in unpaid bills.

The Nova Star had planned to ferry people between Portland, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, boosting the tourist and economic opportunities at both ends.

But the ferry failed to carry as many passengers as it had anticipated, and debt rapidly piled up. The Nova Scotian government cut ties with Nova Star Cruises, the operator of the ferry, after spending upwards of $31 million to keep it afloat. Several Portland companies then complained that they had not been paid, leading to the ship’s arrest.

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The owner of the ferry, Singapore Technologies Marine, reached settlements with most companies that were owed money and posted a $750,000 bond, the Press-Herald reports. The ferry was released on bail last week.

Though the ferry departed local waters, it’s not yet clear where it will go. The owners are still looking for a new operator and a new route, and coming winter weather won’t help in that regard, the Press-Herald reports.

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