UPDATE November 8: Lost in the news of the Canadian Governments decision to bring back Bay Ferries was the news that the Nova Star got arrested. The ship was actually arrested. Boston.com has an excellent description of what actually transpired.
Originally Published on: Oct 31, 2015 @ 13:18
Canadian Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan just announced that Nova Star Cruises will not return to Canada next year. Nova Star Cruises operate the Nova Star sailing the Bay of Fundy between Portland, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Since its inception the line has been plagued with issues and I’ve covered them quite a bit here.
The Canadian government has been disappointed with Nova Star’s passenger loads and their various requests for more and more funding. In 2012, the line was originally given a $21 million subsidy to be split over 7 years. They blew through that $21 million in the middle of their first year of operation, 2014, and required an additional $7.5 million to finish out that year. In 2015, it’s reported they received an additional $13 million.
I had heard about a year ago that the government would be considering alternatives if things didn’t improve for 2015.
2015 proved to be an even worse season for them with a 12 percent decrease in passenger loads. In 2014, the Nova Star carried 59,000 pax and 2015 carried 52,000 pax. This is a long way from the 100,000 pax in 2014 and 110,000 pax in 2015 that the line had promised.
Bay Ferries operated the high speed wavepiercer, The Cat, between Maine and Nova Scotia up until 2009. The Cat was sold to other interests and operates the route between Taiwan and an Island off the Chinese coast.
According to the release, the Canadian government will now enter into a contract negotiation with Bay Ferries where funding, pax loads, and vessel options will be agreed upon. The agreement can be for as long as 10 years. Nova Star cruises operated on yearly contracts. As of now, they do not have a ship in mind to operate this route but will have to secure one within 45 days.
Stay tuned as I’ll post again once I hear more details on Bay Ferries return to Maine.