US gives green light to ferry service to Cuba

A ferry service is about to be established between the United States and Cuba. This comes as the two countries work to foster bilateral relations after 54 years of acrimony.

The first licences to ferry operators have already been approved by the United States government.

Four companies have emerged as possible operators of the ferry service which will run from Florida to Cuba. They are: United Caribbean Lines Florida of Greater Orlando, Airline Brokers Co. of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Ferry Partners of Fort Lauderdale, South Florida and Baja Ferries, a Florida company that operates routes to Mexico.

Havana Ferry Partners of Fort Lauderdale hopes to deploy a vessel with a capacity of up to 150 passengers that will operate between Key West and Havana within weeks, South Sentinel newspaper reported.

“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 [South] Florida Ports to Havana, Cuba. This is a Historical event,” the company said on Tuesday on its Facebook page.

“This is a further step in bringing Cuba and the United States closer together,” a legal representative of Baja Ferries, Robert Muse was quoted as saying.

Baja Ferries is said to be considering launching a three-week service to Cuba but is still considering the best Florida port to be used as its departure point.

The companies still need to get final approval from the Cuban government before a service can be launched.

The United States and Cuba suspended ferry services in the early 1960s, following the Cuban revolution.

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