Surplus Navy ship could be new Maine-Nova Scotia ferry

While the Nova Scotia government has selected Bay Ferries Ltd. as the new operator for the route between Portland, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, one key piece of equipment is still missing: A boat.

However, the Associated Press reported last week that Bay Ferries is looking into leasing a Navy-owned high-speed vessel for the route.

Harold Pachios, an attorney for Bay Ferries, told the Associated Press that the vessel in question was formerly used as a private ferry.

The U.S. Navy ended up with two high-speed catamaran ferries in 2012, purchasing the pair from the Maritime Administration, which took possession of the vessels when Hawaii Superferry Inc. went bankrupt in 2009.

The Alakai and Huakai were designed and built by Austal USA, and the Alakai shuttled passengers between Oahu and Maui before Hawaii Superferry shut down. The Navy renamed the vessels the USNS Guam and USNS Puerto Rico.

In a statement, Bay Ferries CEO Mark MacDonald acknowledged the challenges in finding a vessel for the route, but said he could not disclose specifics on the search.

“We recognize the concerns of many people, particularly our longstanding partners in the travel and tourism industries, that ferry service out of Yarmouth continues in 2016 and beyond and are doing everything we can to reach that goal,” MacDonald said. “Because we are competing for assets against other operators worldwide, we are limited in what we can say on the status of our search because of the risk that it would jeopardize our company’s ability to get the best ship in place for the Yarmouth-Maine service in 2016.”

Ethan Strimling, the mayor of Portland, has sought the help of Maine Senator Angus King, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, to help facilitate conversations between Bay Ferries and the Navy, the AP reported.

The ferry service drives both jobs and tourism in Maine and Nova Scotia.

Bay Ferries’ attorney Pachios told the AP that officials at the company are confident they will secure a vessel in time for the start of the summer season.

About the author

Ashley Herriman

Ashley Herriman is WorkBoat's online editor.

Leave A Reply

© Diversified Communications. All rights reserved.