More than ACOA money lost in boatbuilding project

Ashley
Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Arctic Leader laid up in Burin, unfinished, says former owner

The unfinished fishing boat Arctic Leader sits in the Glovertown shipyard in this undated photo.
— Photo courtesy of Howard Peer, Philadelphia

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) was not the only federal agency to lose money in a failed shipbuilding venture in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The fishing vessel Arctic Leader remains under construction, unfinished since 2004.

As The Telegram reported Feb. 21, a partnership between A.M.P. Fisheries and Terra Nova Marine Co. — known as M.E.D. Enterprises — was provided $450,000 by ACOA to help build the ship.

That was before the partnership fell apart.

In April 2008, A.M.P. filed a legal claim against Terra Nova Marine. The other company responded in kind.

M.E.D. Enterprises ultimately defaulted on its ACOA loan.

As it turns out, the National Research Council (NRC) also contributed to the project. Specifically, the contribution went to project partner Terra Nova Marine.

“The company had a contribution agreement with NRC starting Jan. 8, 2007, which ended March 31, 2009,” a spokeswoman for the federal entity stated in an email response to questions.

“In the end, the firm received $491,287.”

The Telegram asked if there were any partners to Terra Nova Marine listed on the file, but was told details of agreements — including partners — are considered confidential business information.

Terra Nova Marine filed for bankruptcy in October 2012. The majority of creditors on the file have claims of less than $10,000.

Yet listed creditors include ACOA, with a claim of $400,000.

The single largest creditor is Terra Nova Marketing — a sister company to Terra Nova Marine, operating out of the same building in Donovan’s Industrial Park. It has a stated claim of almost $447,000.

Total claims against Terra Nova Marine run about $1.2 million.

Meanwhile, the Arctic Leader can now be found in Burin.

It remains unfinished, according to Rex Simmonds, president of A.M.P. Fisheries and a former partner to Terra Nova Marine on the boat project.

Despite Terra Nova Marine’s bankruptcy, his differences with his former partner, Steve Whitten, president of Terra Nova Marine, still remain.

“I lost a million dollars, actually $1.2 million myself in the boat. Now you take somebody losing $1.2 million and — I never declared bankruptcy. I managed to absorb it over the years,” he said.

“It was pretty difficult times.”

Simmonds said he attempted at one point — after the ship partnership dissolved — to find a way to finish the Arctic Leader and get it working for him as a fishing vessel.

“I asked the bank. I said, well you’re going to have to give me enough money to finish the boat, and they said no. Well, I said, if you don’t give me enough money to finish the boat you can have the boat back,” he said.

“The bank took the boat back.”

 

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

 

Organizations: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Terra Nova Marine, National Research Council The Telegram A.M.P. Fisheries and Terra Nova Marine Co.

Geographic location: Burin, Arctic, Newfoundland and Labrador Terra Nova Donovan

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Recent comments

  • Duffy
    March 15, 2013 - 13:08

    They should have invested in beet production or mushrooms or cucumbers or phosphoris plants or russian berry plants or call centers or other great opportunities. Oh yea we tried those foolish ventures..............I know they are real smart in government but some may think we have idiots making those decisions.....but not me.

  • david
    March 15, 2013 - 11:29

    It would be much less work to list and write about all the projects where the ACOA money was paid back. ACOA is the quintessential political porkbarrel slush fund. In a country that cannot provide timely health care or a safe, flat highway to drive on, it is an even bigger shame on us all that our votes can be purchased this way.

  • petey
    March 15, 2013 - 07:47

    Probably just as well it never got finished. Appears to be a disaster looking for a place to happen.

  • Jay
    March 15, 2013 - 07:30

    ACOA is nothing but a slush fund for federal politicians.

    • Robert
      March 21, 2013 - 15:11

      Jay! You must mean friends and relatives of Federal Politicians!