Published On: Wed, Dec 20th, 2023

Dutch subsidy for Makana ferry service

PHILIPSBURG — The Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK) has made €1 million ($1.1 million) in subsidies available to support the Makana ferry service that connects Statia and Saba with St. Maarten. This appears from a letter State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen sent to the Dutch parliament.

Statia and Saba want to continue their support for the ferry service but they need additional funding for changes in planning and changes at their ports. The ferry company is also confronted with higher fuel prices.

Makana cannot operate cost neutral during the next two years without subsidy of without higher ticket prices, Van Huffelen wrote in her letter to the parliament. Currently a return ticket from Statia to St. Maarten is $106 and a return ticket from Saba to St. Maarten is $110.

In a joint letter to Ministers Mark Harbers (Infrastructure and Water Management) and Hugo de Jonge (Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations) Saba and Statia asked the Dutch government for €600,000 to enable continued service in 2024.

Van Huffelen states in her letter that the ferry service is well used by the islanders, because it offers a cheaper alternative to costly flight connections.

The Makana ferry is a 72-foot Sabre catamaran with a capacity for 150 passengers. The vessel is captained by Dwayne Hodge.