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The first cargo ship to sail from Miami to Cuba in 50 years arrived in Havana on Friday, July 13, 2012. The Ana Cecilia sailed from a terminal on the Miami River operated by International Port Corp. to the port of Havana carrying one container of humanitarian supplies.The “Peace Boat’s” first shipment, which left the Port of Miami on July 11 and docked in Havana 48 hours later, included mattresses and bedding.
The ship's humanitarian supplies such as food and medicine are exempt from the US trade embargo against the communist-run island. Its cargo was made up of charitable donations and gifts to relatives from Miami's large Cuban exile population.
The vessel will now operate a weekly service linking Miami and Havana for the first time since 1962. Similar cargo services to Cuba already operate from other US ports. The Bolivian-flagged vessel Ana Cecilia entered Havana Harbour on Friday morning.
The International Port Corporation - which is operating the service - obtained a special permit from the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces the trade embargo against Cuba.
International Port Corp. is categorized as a full-service River Terminal specialized in the acceptance, loading and delivery of cargo vessels to any island in the Caribbean Sea or Central America. The cargo service costs around $12 (£8) per kilo.
US President John F Kennedy imposed a trade embargo on Cuba's communist government in 1962. In 2009 President Barack Obama relaxed the restrictions, making it easier for Cuban-Americans to visit and send money to relatives on the island.