04/15/2014 02:01 EDT | Updated 06/15/2014 05:59 EDT

New ferry for trips between Nova Scotia and Maine arrives in Yarmouth

YARMOUTH, N.S. - A new ferry that will carry passengers and vehicles between southwestern Nova Scotia and Maine arrived in Yarmouth on Tuesday.

The vessel is scheduled to begin making daily, round-trip crossings between Yarmouth and Portland, Maine, on May 15 with trips continuing until Nov. 2.

The province cut funding for a previous ferry in December 2009 and the service's return is seen by local businesses and politicians as crucial to the area's tourism industry.

The new service is being operated by Nova Star Cruises, which has signed a seven-year lease agreement with the Town of Yarmouth for the use of its municipal ferry terminal.

The provincial government has committed $21 million over seven years to support the ferry service.

Mark Amundsen, the chief executive of Nova Star, said it was a lengthy process negotiating the ferry agreement and he's pleased to the vessel arriving at its berth.

"It's quite a sight," he said, as the 161-metre vessel pulled into the community.

"It's been an arduous battle to get this ship in the harbour. There's been three governments involved on every level and everyone has been very supportive," said Amundsen.

"We're glad it's come to a conclusion with the Nova Star coming into harbour today."

Public tours of the ferry are scheduled for Wednesday.

The vessel arrived after a month-long, 16,000-kilometre journey from Singapore, where it was built.

The ferry can carry 1,215 passengers and hold 336 automobiles.