Nova Scotia

Nova Star Cruises owes money, says Maine supplier

A ship chandler in Maine says he’s anxiously awaiting payment from Nova Star Cruises after providing tools and equipment for the ferry.

Nova Star Cruises says it will pay its suppliers, 'as it has always done'

Mark Usinger, president of AL Griffin Inc. in South Portland, says Nova Star Cruises still hasn't paid up for work his company did providing tools and equipment. (Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via the Associated Press)

A Maine businessman who supplies equipment for ships and boats says he's anxiously awaiting payment from Nova Star Cruises after providing tools and equipment for the ferry. 

Mark Usinger, president of AL Griffin Inc. in South Portland, says he's owed almost $13,000 for work that included providing sheets of steel and parts to repair shower facilities on the ship. 

"We are all getting very concerned that we would get our money at all," he said. "Anybody in the ship chandlery business has been taken to the cleaners before so we know what it's like to have somebody not pay us, ever." 

A Maine television station, WMTW, is also reporting Nova Star is behind on payments for advertisements it took out on radio and television stations in the U.S. 

Usinger says his family-owned company has to pay its own suppliers up front, so when invoices are paid late, it creates a strain.

"What it means is we don't have money to pay other bills. What it means at this time of year is we don't have as much money as we'd like to have to start buying winter inventory, winter coats, winter gloves," he said. 

Usinger says he hasn't heard directly from Nova Star but has been in contact with a Florida company that organized the purchasing. He said he was told his money won't be coming in for several weeks. 

"I guess I'll believe it when I see the cheque or the wire transfer," he said. 

No one from Nova Star Cruises was available for an interview.

"Nova Star will pay its suppliers, as it has always done over the past two years," president and CEO Mark Amundsen said in a statement.

'Ongoing' payment issues

Nova Star Cruises made its last sailing of the season Oct. 14.

The company has said it needs the remaining $1.9 million promised from the Nova Scotia government to pays its operating bills. 

The company says between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31 it spent $2 million with its 115 Nova Scotia suppliers. 

Pete Luckett, whose vineyards have provided wine to the ferry service, says there have been "ongoing" issues with late payments. At this point, he says his company is not owed any money.

"They have been rather disorganized in the accounts payable area but we did get paid," he said. "Let's hope they get their act together and make it work."

Rufin Portier, owner of R. H. Portier Fabrication Ltd., did welding work for Nova Star and says he's had no problems getting paid for the $5,000 worth of work his company provided. 

Inshore Fisheries, Riverside Lobster and Yarmouth Bar Fisheries also provided services and say they were paid on time.


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