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Scuttled contract, nonpayment prompt shipyard lawsuit

By Ben Holbrook | Sep 29, 2016

Belfast — A lawsuit filed by Front Street Shipyard alleges the company is owed more than $1 million for work it completed designing and fabricating two vessels.

In 2015, Trefoil Marine Ltd., based in Ontario, Canada, and Trefoil Marine (RI) Ltd., based in Rhode Island, contacted Front Street Shipyard about providing design, drafting, fabrication and production services for two vessels — the T29 Widebody and the T33 Patrol Cat. The lawsuit asserts that Trefoil claimed to have connections in the marine industry that ensured the success and profitability of the company. It was upon those assurances, according to the lawsuit, that Front Street Shipyard agreed to undertake work on the proposed vessels.

Also, during discussions, Trefoil said it had established, or would be establishing, a company — Harbour Express Ltd. — which would purchase four, 12-passenger T29 vessels from Trefoil Marine Ltd. That purchase would in turn provide Trefoil the needed funds to pay Front Street Shipyard for the work and vessels, the lawsuit states.

According to the lawsuit, Front Street shipyard fulfilled all of its obligations under terms of the contract. That work included building and launching one vessel and providing tooling, mold fabrication, and hull layup for an additional four vessels.

The shipyard said the value of the labor, materials, equipment and work that was provided totals $1,237,333.48 as of July 1 of this year. Interest is accruing on the owed balance.

While work was underway, the shipyard would, from time to time, seek reassurance that it would be paid. Trefoil stated it would make the payments immediately or by a certain date based on anticipated funding.

However, Front Street Shipyard eventually determined that Trefoil's assurances of payment were false. Despite demands for payment, Trefoil has refused and continues to refuse to pay for any of the work, the lawsuit states.

In addition to the amount Front Street Shipyard specified it is owed by Trefoil, the company is also asking for interest and attorneys' fees.

Front Street Shipyard is also suing a different Rhode Island-based company for work completed on a 76-foot racing yacht. The Rhode Island company has denied allegations that it owes Front Street Shipyard any money.

 

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