Ferry company turns to province for help in satisfying American requirements

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The Nova Star.

Nova Star Cruises has turned to the province of Nova Scotia for help in satisfying American regulations that – with just over two months to go before the service is slated to begin – prevents the company from advertising rates and taking reservations.

The province says it will have an answer for the company at the start of next week.

The United States Federal Maritime Commission is requiring that the company prove that it can refund customer tickets for cancelled crossings.

Until it can do so the company isn’t allowed to include fares on its website, it can’t move forward with its reservations system and it’s even had to take down it’s Facebook page at the request of the American commission.

The province’s minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, Michel Samson, says the company has to have the security in place before they can start selling tickets.

The provincial government is reviewing the financial request the company has made. Samson says he believes the amount being requested to be $2 million, which would be held by the U.S government as a security against ticket sales.

The province has already committed up to $21 million for the resumption of the ferry service. Whether this request is over and above that amount is something the government is studying. Samson suggests it would be within that $21 million envelop.

Samson says the company has indicated this security requirement was not known to them at the time they were negotiating the service with the province. He says it was unknown to the province as well.

The company reached the initial deal for ferry service with the previous NDP government.

Samson says the government is hoping to have the matter addressed very soon.

He says the province remains committed to seeing the ferry service resume.

Progressive Conservative House Leader Chris d’Entremont says the minister has some explaining to do.

“The Minister must provide clarity, it the May 1 start date in jeopardy?” says d’Entremont.

“We are just weeks from the start of the spring tourism season and tourists can’t even find out the fare,” says d’Entremont. “Nova Scotia cannot afford to lose another tourism season without this ferry.”

He says the Progressive Conservative caucus is fully supportive of restoring ferry service in Yarmouth. But d'Entremont adds it is the Minister's duty to fully understand the details.

D’Entremont says if the province takes on the responsibility of the refund, Nova Scotians deserve to know if that money will be in addition to the committed investment.

“The minister needs to be up front about the financial commitment,” he says. “We have a right to know our full investment.”

Officials with Nova Star Cruises continue to maintain they are on target for May 1 start-up date.

 

Organizations: Nova Star Cruises, United States Federal Maritime Commission, Conservative House

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, US, Yarmouth

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Recent comments

  • Bill Dolan
    February 22, 2014 - 10:27

    Here is a solution. Charge the customers credit card account when the boarding pass is presented. This eliminates the risk to the consumer. Now it appears that on reviewing the financials of the ferry company , no escrow provisions showed up for prepaid fares. This is not sound accounting and should raise a red flag. Having said this no one wants a successful ferry more than I. Bill Dolan

  • Another concerned citizen
    February 21, 2014 - 18:31

    I was wondering why more money would need to come from Nova Scotia and not Portland? The fares are in US dollars not Canadian dollars shouldn't Portland give a little more for this, it benefits everyone. and our commitment is so big already. Also wondering on hiring haven't seen anything on that either.

    • Richard Bliss
      February 23, 2014 - 14:19

      Another concerned citizen-At the very least Maine could pay half of it. Unfortunately I don't pull the purse-strings here or I would have paid for all of it.

  • Richard Bliss (Davis)
    February 21, 2014 - 18:12

    I grew up crossing to Yarmouth on the Bluenose. My kids grew up on the Prince of Fundy and Sea-cat crossings. I have always been saddened that the Ferry Service was allowed to lapse. I am sure it is quite expensive for the province but it was always a highlight of our trip "home" to Shelburne. I always thought the ferry should have docked in Shelburne myself.

  • Gene
    February 21, 2014 - 11:40

    just wondering if they are going to hire any local people for deck hands and steward haven't seen anything posted anywhwere.

  • Cn Marine Concern Citizen
    February 21, 2014 - 10:28

    IF THE FERRY HAS A COMMITMENT FROM THE PROVINCE FOR 21 MILLION AND ANOTHER COMMITMENT FROM THE GOVERNOR OF PORTLAND FOR 5 MILLION WHY WOULD THEY NEED A EXTRA 2 MILLION FOR TICKET RESERVE WHEN THE PORTLAND GOVERNMENT CAN TAKE THE 2 MILLION FROM THE 5 MILLION COMMITTED FOR THIS THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE 21 MILLION COMMITTED FROM THE NOVASCOTIA GOVERNMENT ANSWER THAT QUESTION

  • Ron
    February 21, 2014 - 10:10

    And the money will come from us once again. What a crock is right. Do I have a better idea? Yes. If the bank won't lend the company the money then too bad. If the idea is not credible enough for a bank to back it that should tell us all there is to know about this and all the other ventures the government has backed. There needs to be a government that will step up and say, "no more", to these corporates who live in their taxpayer funded towers.

    • John Townsend
      February 23, 2014 - 14:46

      Bank's are not in the habit of lending in the transportation sector. As you should be aware most ferry operations are funded by the Government of Canada...as was the ferry terminal, and former ferry operations, ncluding Digby N.S. There is litle doubt the business plan is feasable,,, the International ferry in Yarmouth should never have been cancelled in the first place by the Deter Gov.'t...they saw the error of these decision when the effects of lack of ferry service was felt fom one end of this provice to the other, then and only the did the 21 million over 7 years become an option under the Dexter Gov.'t....For crying out loud that Gov.'t. couldn't even get the numbers straight....

  • Curtis
    February 21, 2014 - 07:57

    What a crock..not hard to foresee this is not going to work!

    • Philippe Frigault
      February 22, 2014 - 03:16

      oh well, once again N-Scotia is making the news, we have no doctors, we might not get that ferry and this is just starting, we will loose home mail delivery, welcome people and make sure you vote LIBERALS again