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Maine-based Ocean Classroom Foundation, which operated Amistad, to close

By NELL GLUCKMAN, Bangor Daily News

Publication: theday.com

Published July 25. 2014 4:30PM   Updated July 26. 2014 4:20PM

Portland, Maine — The Ocean Classroom Foundation, a nonprofit based in Maine that has run educational programs for students aboard schooners for almost 20 years, will stop operating at the end of this summer, according to executive director Greg Belanger.

The reason, according to Belanger, is that two of the three ships that the foundation owns are in such serious need of repair that they cannot host students and the third requires more expensive repairs than anticipated this year.

Without the revenue that the two out-of-commission ships would bring in, the organization will not be able to run programs beyond this summer, he said.

“The only viable solution was to work in this direction and eventually to close,” Belanger said. “We’ve been working for several months cooperatively with the bank to come up with a viable solution. It just proved unsustainable to fix these boats and pay the mortgage.”

Ocean Classroom Foundation took out a $2.2 million mortgage from Camden National Bank in 2010, Belanger said. The foundation made regular payments until three to five months ago. Belanger did not say how much was still owed to the bank.

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