The Obama administration announced the approval of the first ferry service between the U.S. and Cuba in more than five decades.
The ferry will run between Florida and Cuba, and follows the December announcement that the two countries would renew diplomatic relations for the first time in 54 years. Ferry services between Cuba and the U.S. were halted in 1960 after a trade embargo was imposed following the rise of Fidel Castro.
On Tuesday, the Treasury Department issued licenses to at least two American companies, including Miami-based Baja Ferries USA and Puerto Rico-based American Cruise Ferries.
“If all goes smoothly we could have things up and running by September,” Baja Ferries vice president Joseph Hinson said, adding that the companies still needed approval from Cuba and Florida port officials.
“This is a further step in bringing Cuba and the United States closer together,” Baja Ferries lawyer Robert Muse said.
Other companies said to have obtained a license included Havana Ferry Partners, of Ft. Lauderdale, who posted about the agreement on their Facebook page.
“This is a historical event. Thanks to President Barack Obama, to whom we are very grateful, for his leadership,” the firm wrote.
Photo Credit: bbc.com