An American sailor whose tall ship sank in Halifax harbour during Hurricane Juan is suing a Canadian non-profit society for almost $1 million US.

A Massachusetts shipyard filed the lawsuit on behalf of Larry Mahan, the former captain of the schooner, Larinda.

The statement of claim says the steel-hulled HMCS Sackville, which dates from the Second World War and is nicknamed the Last Corvette, repeatedly slammed against the Larinda while they were moored next to each other at the height of Hurricane Juan on Sept. 29, 2003.

"The master of Larinda feared for the safety of her crew and gave orders to abandon ship," court documents filed in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia state.

Wolverine Motor Works Shipyard claims the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust, which manages HMCS Sackville as a floating museum at a permanent docking spot in Halifax, was negligent in not moving it to a safer mooring before the hurricane struck.

The shipyard says the Larinda was worth $815,000 US, and it cost $110,000 to have it refloated after it sank.

A Halifax businessman bought the heavily damaged schooner for $28,888 at an auction in November.

HMCS Sackville was built in Saint John, N.B., and commissioned in 1941.

The vessel serves as a monument to the military ships that steamed out of Halifax during the Second World War, patrolling for German U-boats in the North Atlantic.