High-speed ferry will begin service from Maine to Canada this summer

PORTLAND, Maine — High-speed ferry service will return this summer between Maine and Nova Scotia on a vessel that is smaller and faster than one that operated for two financially disastrous seasons, Boston.com reported.

Mark MacDonald, president of the Canadian company Bay Ferries, said the company will operate a twin-hulled vessel under a lease agreement with its owner, the U.S. Navy.

The ship, USNS Puerto Rico, can make the 212-mile trip in 5 1/2 hours. The Nova Star, which ended service in October, took 11 hours to make the crossing.

PHOTO: In this July 3, 2007 photo, the Hawaii Superferry Alakai sits at Pier 19 in the harbor in Honolulu. The vessel, which was later obtained by the U.S. Navy and renamed USNS Puerto Rico, will become the new high-speed ferry to run between Maine and Nova Scotia under a lease agreement with the Navy in summer 2016. Photo provided.

The vessel is similar in size and operation to a pervious high-speed ferry that Bay Ferries operated on the same route from 2006 through 2009. That vessel was also called the CAT.

The Navy ship will be renamed the CAT.

“Yes, the CAT is back,” MacDonald said during a news conference Thursday in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In the one-year charter agreement signed with the Navy on Thursday, the Navy retains the right to take back the ship at any time. MacDonald said he doubts that will ever happen.

He said the Puerto Rico will be configured to carry between 700 and 750 passengers. It can carry 280 cars. It previously operated as a ferry in the Hawaiian islands under name Alakai.

The service will begin on June 15, MacDonald said. It will depart Portland daily at 2:30 p.m. and arrive in Yarmouth at 9 p.m. After spending the night in Yarmouth, the ferry will depart for Maine at 8 a.m.

The Nova Scotia government will provide a subsidy of just under $33 million (Canadian) over two years, according to a 10-year agreement.

Photo provided.

Source: Boston.com

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