A ferry service is about to be established between the United States and Cuba as the two countries work to foster bilateral relations after 54 years.
The first licences to ferry operators have already been approved by the United States Treasury Department.
Four companies have emerged as potential operators of the ferry service from Florida to Cuba, those being: Baja Ferries, a Florida company that operates routes to Mexico, United Caribbean Lines Florida of Greater Orlando, Airline Brokers Co. of Miami and Fort Lauderdale and Havana Ferry Partners of Fort Lauderdale, South Florida newspaper Sun Sentinel reports.
Havana Ferry Partners of Fort Lauderdale hopes to launch the service between Key West and Havana within weeks deploying a vessel with a capacity of up to 150 passengers, the newspaper said.
“Just this morning Havana Ferry Partners LLC has received the approval from both the U.S. Treasury Department / OFAC and the U.S.Commerce Department / BIS to operate our passenger / cargo ferry from four S.Florida Ports to Havana,Cuba. This is a Historical event,” the company said on Tuesday on its Facebook page.
“The ships are ready to go,” a legal representative of Baja Ferries Robert Muse told Reuters. “This is a further step in bringing Cuba and the United States closer together.”
Baja Ferries is reported to be considering launching a three-week service to Cuba but is still considering the best Florida port to be used for its departure point.
The companies still need a final approval from the Cuban government before a service can be launched.
The two countries suspended the ferry services in the early 1960s, following the Cuban revolution.
World Maritime News Staff