Province approves ferry company's request

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The provincial government is helping Nova Star Cruises meet federal requirements in the United States so it can start selling tickets for the new Portland-to-Yarmouth ferry.

The North Star

Nova Star Cruises will receive $2 million, part of the province's $21-million commitment to support a new ferry, to post a bond to meet United States Federal Maritime Commission requirements. Without that requirement in place, Nova Star Cruises has been unable to post fares on its website or begin to take reservations.

"We said we'd do all we could to get a ferry back in the water in Yarmouth. By approving Nova Star Cruises' request, they'll be able to get the approvals they need in the United States to advertise their fares and sell tickets," said Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Michel Samson in a media release.

"We're continuing to work closely with the company, the community and other partners, as the company works toward launching the new ferry service."

Also, after consulting with community leaders, partners and tourism groups in southwestern Nova Scotia,  Samson also approved a one-hour change to the sailing schedule. The ferry will now arrive in Yarmouth at 8 a.m. instead of 7 a.m., and depart at 10 a.m., rather than 9 a.m., each day. The company requested the change because of marine traffic in Portland.

"Nova Star Cruises is thankful for the continued co-operation and ongoing support the province of Nova Scotia has provided to re-establish a successful cruise ferry service between Yarmouth, and Portland," said Steve Durrell, COO, Nova Star Cruises.

The government has provided close to $6.8 million to the company to date, including the $2 million for the bond. The province's financial commitment to support the ferry remains $21 million over seven years.

"We will soon publish our fares and travellers will be able to make reservations on our website, We are excited to welcome the first passengers on Nova Star in May," said Mark Amundsen, president and CEO, Nova Star Cruises.

Organizations: Star Cruises, United States Federal Maritime Commission

Geographic location: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Portland United States

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