PORTLAND, Maine — The former operator of a ferry between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, has filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada, claiming about $62,000 in debt to the city of Portland and about $362,000 to Maine-based companies.

Deloitte Restructuring began notifying creditors of the bankruptcy last week for Nova Star Cruises, which claimed $12 million in debt, against about $112,000 in assets, according to bankruptcy documents published by Deloitte.

Besides Portland, the list of creditors includes a range of businesses in Maine, including Portland Tugboat, uniform and linen cleaner Pratt Abbott and the public affairs firm that represented Nova Star Cruises in Maine, Savvy Inc.

Converted at the current exchange rate of 79 cents to the U.S. dollar, the bill owed to Portland comes to $61,908 for port fees and other charges.

The largest unsecured Maine-based debtor is Portland Pilots Inc., which escorted the ferry in and out of the harbor, and is owed about $157,300. The company had filed a claim against Nova Star Cruises in U.S. federal court seeking payment.

The company’s largest creditor, by far, is the owner of the ship it leased, the Singapore-based ST Marine. The company declared about $9.3 million in debt to the ship owner and another $960,000 to the company that staffed the ship, Fleetpro Ocean Inc.

Deloitte was appointed as the trustee in the bankruptcy case on April 13 and the first meeting of creditors is scheduled for May 4 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

The bankruptcy comes after Nova Star Cruises received subsidies from the province of Nova Scotia for two seasons operating the ferry service and missing ridership projections for both seasons.

The company was not selected to continue a third season and its unpaid debts allowed creditors to arrest the ship it leased, leaving it moored or docked in Portland harbor for weeks.

The province instead signed a 10-year deal with the former operator of The Cat ferry in March to provide daily service between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, starting mid-June.

Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.