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U.S. Treasury Denies Licence for Florida Ferry Service to Cuba

  • 08-Mar-12 17:23
  • Cuba
  • Sun Sentinel

After waiting two years to find out if it can provide a ferry service for Cuba holidays, Havana Ferry Partners has been told that its application has been denied, with the U.S. Treasury agency saying the service is "beyond the scope of current policy."

U.S. Treasury Denies Licence for Florida Ferry Service to Cuba

A Fort-Lauderdale company has found out that its application to provide a ferry service for American travellers between the United States and Cuba has been denied.

Havana Ferry Partners submitted their application two years ago and last month, the company publicly complained about the delay in the decision which would provide a cheaper alternative to flights for American residents planning Cuba holidays.

The company received a letter from the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control on 27th February, 2012, saying that the ferry service to Cuba is "beyond the scope of current policy."

"We're not going away," said Leonard Moecklin Sr. a managing partner of Havana Ferry.

The firm’s executives are planning to appeal against the decision because they cannot understand why the U.S. authorities permit charter flights to Cuba but not ferries when the current U.S. regulations allow both "aircraft and vessels".

Several U.S. and international companies submitted applications to provide holidays to Cuba via ferry for Americans under the new relaxed Cuba travel restrictions. These include Orlando's United Caribbean Lines, Paris' Unishipping and Spain's Balearia.

 Ferry Service to Cuba
Image by: worldtraveller5, on Flickr

Before the decades-long embargo, tourists were able to travel to the communist island via a ferry service from Florida, and since President Obama eased travel restrictions for U.S. residents last year, many companies are keen to resume this charter service.

Havana Ferry Partners say that its service could create a new route for Cuba holidays under the new regulations, as well as hundreds of full-time and part-time jobs in the Florida.

"The market is waiting for this ferry to open up," Moecklin added. "We can help people that can't afford a $500 flight and the cost of overweight luggage."

The new law enables Americans to take holidays to Cuba for religious, academic, cultural, educations and professional purposes, and Cuban-Americans can now freely travel to their homeland as often as they desire, with no limitations.

U.S. Airports that are now permitted to operate charter Cuba flights include Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Tampa International Airport, Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, O’Hare in Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and San Juan.

Cuba is a Caribbean island located east of Mexico. The country boasts beautiful white and golden sand beaches, tropical nature parks, luxury and mid-range Cuba hotels and resorts, and cities, towns and villages that are rich in culture and history.

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