Retired navy support ship in Nova Scotia sold to Texas businessman

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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BRIDGEWATER, N.S. - A Texas businessman has bought the retired navy diving support ship that has been under arrest at the Port of Bridgewater in Nova Scotia for several years.
The former owner of the Cormorant is also a Texas company, but there is not believed to be any connection between the two.
The vessel has been the subject of court orders since before it was towed up the LaHave River to the Port of Bridgewater in 2002. But its owner finally paid bills that had accumulated while the ship was tied up in Shelburne, N.S., freeing the ship to be moved to Bridgewater seven years ago.
But unpaid bills and court judgments stacked up again. A number of court papers outlining claims against the former owners, Dominion Shipping, are taped to an inside window of the ship.
The Artificial Reef Society, which owns the Port of Bridgewater, pursued its case in Federal Court and received permission in July to sell the ship though a sheriff's sale.
Halifax lawyer Bill MacInnes was appointed sheriff. He said in an interview Monday five bids came in by the close of auction at 4 p.m., Sept. 2.
"The highest bidder couldn't come up with the deposit in time," he said.
But the second bidder did. Neil Hjelle came in with a bid of $199,000 and handed over the 25 per cent deposit in time.
MacInnes didn't know Hjelle's exact plans, but said he is expected to set up a company and use the Cormorant on a research contract. Hjelle is having a new ship built to do the work, but will refurbish the Cormorant and use her until the new ship is ready.

Organizations: Artificial Reef Society, Federal Court

Geographic location: Texas, Nova Scotia, Port of Bridgewater LaHave River Shelburne Halifax

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