The "Nova Star" received court approval to leave Portland harbor on Dec 1 morning, posting a bond that would be used to settle any outstanding debts. The Singapore-based ST Marine will put up a $750,000 bond to secure about $502,000 in disputed claims against it, as other disagreements loom over who should pay how much for the ship’s maintenance costs during its arrest. U.S. Magistrate Judge John Rich III approved the company’s request on Npv 30 to free the ship to set sail as early as 12:01 a.m. It was expected the ship would leave the harbor in the next few days, likely for charter work in a more southerly destination.
Clearance for ST Marine to take the ship comes as other claims in the case were remaining, including how much ST Marine might try to claw back in charges to maintain the ship and the crew of about 22 people who have remained aboard in the harbor since its Oct. 30 arrest.
ST Marine has paid about $2 million to settle debts amassed while it operated a luxury ferry line from Portland to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, under lease from Nova Star Cruises, Ltd. In settling those debts, the owner also agreed to pay increasing portions of the fees for maintaining the ship while it was in the harbor.
The ship’s owner was likely to seek some return of money it paid out in the case to a custodian, who maintained the ship while it was under arrest from creditors.
In addition to the arrest, the casino operator Century Resorts last week objected to releasing the ship until it removed its slot machines and other table games from the ship. The company said in a court filing that it removed the gaming equipment on Nov 29.
Without Century’s request, the ship would have left Portland sooner and amassed a lower bill for maintaining the ship. That could be the basis for claims that Century should foot the bill for some of those maintenance costs.
The issue of how all of the creditors will divvy up maintenance costs paid to the custodian will be dealt with in future hearings in the case.
In addition to the ship custodian and staff, the vessel had a crew of about 22 people who were left in limbo, unable to disembark for U.S. soil because they were foreign nationals and prohibited by the government of the United States from leaving the vessel.
The shipowner terminated that lease around the time the vessel was placed under arrest and began to pay bills amassed while operating as Nova Star Cruises.
As of midnight on Nov 30, ST Marine took full responsibility for the ship’s costs, with the costs in the previous days and weeks remaining subjects of dispute for future hearings in the case.
The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport was in talks with Venu Shipping regarding the removal of the "Suilven" from the Suva harbour. After conducting another dive to determine the amount of diesel fuel on the ship, the ministry said there was no leakage of light diesel fuel and from calculation, about 3000 litres of fuel could be left in its tanks from the 8000 litres it had before departing Ovalau. A second dive conducted over the weekend confirmed no oil leakage from the fuel tanks onboard. Small boat operators needed to be reminded to keep clear of the site for safety and security reasons.
Hamburg creates more space for big ships at Tollerort
Already well advanced in the heart of Europe’s second biggest port – Hamburg - are extensive works to improve accessibility and manoeuverability for big container and cruise ships.
Three phase construction on the €98 million redesign and restructuring project at Tollerort in the German North Sea port began in 2014 and Maritime Journal has been told that work is still on schedule late year for completion in 2017.
The project, described by some as “open-heart surgery” because of the activity around it, involves the removal of the Tollerortspitze, a four hectare area of land which juts into the Norderelbe, the busy northern arm of the River Elbe. The excavated soil is being used to backfill the Kohlenschiffhafen harbour basin which lies alongside and that area will become replacement land for the adjacent big Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT).
Martin Boness, spokesman for the Hamburg Port Authority, told Maritime Journal in November “work is progressing according to schedule. We plan to complete the project in early 2017”. More to read at www.maritimejourn...
Strikes Planned At Rotterdam Port In December And January
Container workers at the Port of Rotterdam have voted to hold a series of 24-hour strikes in December and January in protest at possible job cuts, threatening to freeze the movement of goods through Europe’s largest port.
Niek Stam, leader of the FNV Havens union, said in a statement members of the union had voted in favour of the strikes to back their demand for guarantees of no layoffs for the coming nine years.
Major container employers ECT, APMT and RWG have rejected that demand in contract talks which have been running since April. www.marineinsight...