Bay Ferries is almost ready to restart daily service between Maine and Nova Scotia. The company announced Thursday that the 349’x78’x12’ catamaran ferry The Cat has completed sea trials and is is headed for Portland, Maine, to take up its new route.
The Cat had been in Charleston, S.C. undergoing renovations and repairs at Detyens Shipyard Inc.
“We are extremely grateful to our Bay Ferries’ team who led this extremely complex and challenging project against a very tight timeline,” Mark MacDonald, chairman and CEO of Bay Ferries, said in a statement.
This is the third reincarnation for The Cat, which was built by Austal USA for Hawaii Superferry and entered service as the Alakai. The venture proved short-lived amid opposition from environmental activists and other critics, ending after Hawaii’s state Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a state law that allowed the service between Oahu and Maui to operate without an environmental review.
The ferry was acquired by the U.S. Navy in 2012 along with its sistership, and renamed the Puerto Rico. Intended for use as a transport vessel, it was never put into service. Bay Ferries is leasing the vessel from the U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command.
The company said that during sea trials, the ferry achieved a speed of 42 knots, with normal open sea operating speed expected to be 33-35 knots. The Cat is expected to take 5.5 hours to complete the 185-nautical-mi. crossing between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
Service is expected to begin June 15, after final regulatory approvals, insurance certification, training, and testing of life-saving equipment, the company said.