A lawsuit filed in federal district court against the owner of a former Washington state ferry led to a court-ordered “arrest” of the ship, the port of Olympia announced Wednesday.
The ferry has been moored at the port’s maritime terminal for more than two years, after the original plan was for it to be there for only a couple of months. The docking agreement at the port has been extended, but the shipowner has not always been prompt in paying the mooring fees. The port says it hasn’t been paid since January and is now in debt of $ 67,000.
Although Jones Global Investment LLC is the current owner of the ferry, a company called Jones Broadcasting LLC bought it from the state in 2017 for $ 300,000. The 310 foot ferry previously operated under the name “Evergreen State”.
The port was supposed to impound the ferry in June, but then worked with the owner to try and sell it, port spokeswoman Jennie Foglia-Jones said. When that didn’t work, the port filed a lawsuit.
A U.S. marshal issued an arrest warrant this week and a court-appointed ship keeper representative – a company called Marine Lender Services LLC – also checked the ferry, Foglia-Jones said.
“We were hoping that the owner would find a buyer and that we would work with him on this,” he said, adding that now the port’s goal is to recover the money he is owed.
The next likely step for the ferry is a court-ordered sale of the ship, he said.
What was the original plan for the ferry? It was never entirely clear.
Washington State Ferries said at the time of the sale in 2017 that the new owner planned to use the old ferry for ferry service in the “protected waters of the Southern Caribbean.”
A request for documents from the port of Olympia shows that another destination was Panama, according to The Olympian. There were other ideas, such as using the ferry as an event center with fine dining and vendor stalls in Pensacola, Florida, according to the port.
An attempt to sell the ferry on eBay was also unsuccessful.