The Crescent City Harbor District has filed a lawsuit against the owner of a fishing vessel, alleging that he owes more than $8,747.48 in unpaid berthing fees and late fees.
The district filed a complaint on Nov. 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against John F. Marques and his fishing vessel, F/V Chelsea.
The F/V Chelsea is a 47-year-old fiberglass commercial fishing vessel measuring 40-feet in length and whose hailing port is Crescent City. The Chelsea was still at the harbor when the complaint was filed.
Marques entered into a berthing and rental agreement with the Harbor in October 2009. A second agreement was signed in November 2011 and a third agreement reached in February 2014. Marques began falling behind on his berthing fees in summer 2013, according to the complaint.
“The plaintiff Harbor District has received intermittent payments of varying amounts since that time, but the total balance due has ballooned over the past three years,” the complaint reads.
In addition to seeking $8,747.48 for berthage, accrued interest and late-payment handling charges, the harbor seeks up to $4,000 in attorney’s fees.
The district, which holds a maritime lien upon the Chelsea, seeks to foreclose on that lien. The district is asking the court to condemn the boat and allow the U.S. Marshal to sell her. Proceeds of the sale would cover court costs and charges as well as the Marshal’s costs and charges before being distributed to the district.
The Crescent City Harbor is being represented by Autumn E. Luna, of Black & Rice LLP in Crescent City. Luna and Harbormaster Charlie Helms declined to comment since the case is in litigation.