Barge traffic between St. John and St. Thomas has suffered intermittent snarls since Jan. 22, when according to court records the Mister B barge was seized at Enighed Pond commercial port because owner Boyson Inc. failed to make loan payments.
“It’s incredibly backed up,” St. John resident John Fuller said after he finally got on Global Marine’s General II barge at around 11:30 a.m. Monday.
He called again when he reached Red Hook and said there didn’t appear to be a big backup on that end of the trip.
The General II, which Boyson owned until recently, and Love City Car Ferries’ Captain Vic and Island Vic, are the only three barges operating the Cruz Bay to Red Hook run. Love City owner Anecia Sewer said Island Vic was out of service Monday so only two barges were running.
“St. Thomas was kind of a mess,” she said at mid-morning Monday.
Sewer urged barge travelers to get there early in case it’s a time when the number of people wanting to travel exceeds the barge capacity.
Fuller said it appears the barges were departing as soon as they filled up.
At 129.9 feet, Mister B was the largest barge operating between St. John and St. Thomas.
“We lost about half our vehicle capacity,” Fuller said.
No one at Boyson answered the phone Monday.
According to documents filed in U.S. District Court on Jan. 20, Boyson owes the hedge fund company Revere High Yield Fund of Rowayton, Conn., $2.8 million plus 13 percent interest for an April 20, 2015 loan. Payments were to start June 1, 2015. By the time Jan. 5 rolled around, the total owed hit $3.3 million.
The court documents indicate that Boyson borrowed the money from Revere to refinance “certain” debts. As part of the security, Boyson put up the Mister B. Additionally, Boyson’s shareholders – Cheryl Boynes-Jacskon, Noel U. Boynes Sr. and Bernice Mahoney-Boynes – pledged as collateral their interests in the company.
Boynes-Jackson and others also put up their personal property as collateral. However, St. Thomas attorney Steve Russell, who represents Revere, said those properties have not been foreclosed “at this time.” He declined further comment.
Other companies that operated at the same address or at other addresses but had clear ties to Boyson were also used as collateral.
After being what the court documents termed arrested by the U.S. Marshal, the Mister B is sitting at Enighed Pond. The court documents indicate it’s in the custody of Capt. Benjamin Schwartz, who is a St. Thomas-based yacht manager.
The court documents indicated Mister B will be sold by the U.S. Marshal to pay Revere what it’s owed.
Boyson, which bought out the competing Blue Lines in June 1996, was the only barge operator plying the route between St. John and St. Thomas for several years. Love City Car Ferries, then called Republic Barge Service, began operating the Captain Vic on May 4, 1998. On that day as well as several subsequent days, Boyson blockaded the ramp at Red Hook to prevent the Captain Vic from offloading vehicles. A Territorial Court case followed, with the judge ruling consistently in favor of the Captain Vic and its owners.
Global Marine began operating in May 1999 with a barge called the Roanoke, which for a short while went by the name of Tuglife. It is now under repair in Enighed Pond.