Baleària has requested a license to operate between the U.S. and Cuba from the U.S. Treasury Department, after both countries’ announcement of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations. The shipping company is awaiting an official response from the U.S. government, and the subsequent authorization from the Cuban government.
The move follows the U.S. government's announcement last week that it would begin approving licenses for a number of ferry companies to operate services between the United States and Cuba. At least five ferry companies have been approved for licenses, including Baja Ferries USA and United Caribbean lines.
Baleària has operated in the Caribbean region since late 2011 under the brand Bahamas Express, connecting Fort Lauderdale (north of Miami) and Freeport (in Grand Bahama Island). The route is now run by the ferry Bahama Mama (formerly called Alhucemas). Previously, the fast ferry Pinar del Río that still remains in the area operated it. This high-speed vessel “is ideal for the Cuba routes,” said Adolfo Utor, president of Baleària, who adds that the ship has all the certificates required by the Coast Guard to start operating.
For its connections with Cuba, Baleària would operate two lines between Florida and the Havana Port: one with a high speed vessel from Key West, and a second with a ferry from Port Everglades.
“Our service to the Bahamas is now established and therefore we are ready to open new connections and markets in the area that will allow us to grow,” said Utor.