Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Next Stop, Cuba?

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Next Stop, Cuba?

Article excerpt


Three newly licensed ferry boat operators have confirmed their interest in operating out of Port Manatee.

The next big question is which licensees will the Cuban government choose for very limited docking space there.

Part-time Sarasota resident Jorge Fernandez, the CEO of Havana Ferry Partners, confirmed Friday that his company will operate from Port Manatee and that he intends to be based there as well.

"The logistics would be better," Fernandez said. "It is three hours closer than Tampa, and it is very much less congested than the east coast."

Another strong contender is Bruce Nierenberg, president of Orlando-based United Caribbean Lines, who has has been in executive roles at three cruise ship companies.

The third company is Arista Shipping, based in Athens, Greece, and run by Alexander Panagopoulos.

Getting the U.S. license to operate between Cuba and this country is just the first step, Nierenberg told the Herald-Tribune. Dealing with the Cuban government, which will seek a strong player with a foolproof route, is the next real challenge, he said.

"The whole world is going to be watching this ferry operation," Nierenberg said. "The last thing in the world they want is to get egg on their faces."

Cuba has very little berthing space available for a ferry boat, perhaps one berth a few days a week in the Port of Havana.

Longer term, Nierenberg and others see great possibilities as the infrastructure at two other ports in Cuba -- Matanzas and Mariel -- is modernized.

The Treasury Department has declined to say how many ferry boat licenses it issued.

The other operators known to have received licenses are Fort Lauderdale's Havana Ferry Partners, Miami's Baja Ferries and Airline Brokers Co. and Orlando's United Caribbean Lines. Media reports say Miami's United Port Corp. and Puerto Rico's America Cruise Ferries also received licenses, which would bring the total to six.

Years to develop

Nierenberg says he is very interested in Port Manatee as part of a larger network his company intends to build. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.