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US allows first ferry services to Cuba in over 50 years

US flags are seen in a bici-taxi near the capitol in Havana, Cuba, on January 23, 2015The United States authorized commercial ferry services to Cuba for the first time in more than a half-century on Tuesday, another major step in improving relations between the two countries. In what was hailed by ferry operators as “a historical event,” the US Treasury lifted a decades-old ban and at least four Florida companies said they had been licensed to launch boat services to the island. The ferries will also be allowed to carry cargo to the communist island of 11 million, which sits just 150 kilometers (90 miles) off the southern tip of Florida. Four companies confirmed they had received licenses from the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to provide ferry travel.

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