10/20/2014 07:36 EDT | Updated 12/20/2014 05:59 EST

Nova Scotia hasn't seen concrete proposals for Yarmouth to Maine ferry: minister

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's economic development minister says he hasn't seen any concrete proposals from groups who may be interested in running the money-losing ferry service between Yarmouth and Maine.

Michel Samson won't reveal whether the provincial government has asked for proposals, saying officials are focused on work with the current operator Nova Star Cruises to improve the economic outlook for next sailing season.

Samson announced a new interim agreement with the ferry service last week that provides a further $5 million on top of the seven-year $21 million loan the company used up in the first two months of the just-concluded sailing season.

The new money is to cover fuel, insurance and crew costs and is to help with future costs as ferry officials search for winter work for the vessel.

With the expiry of the original agreement, Samson has said the province would be able to seek another operator, but he hasn't indicated whether it's a path the government is ready to explore.

He says there's been no update from the company on whether winter work for the vessel has been lined up.