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US, Cuba Resume Direct Maritime Shipments

US cargo ship "Ana Cecilia" arrives at the Havana Bay, Cuba, early July 13, 2012.
US cargo ship "Ana Cecilia" arrives at the Havana Bay, Cuba, early July 13, 2012.
Direct maritime shipments from Miami to Cuba resumed Friday for the first time in half a century.

The shipments included items from authorized religious groups, charitable organizations and individuals sending packages to family and friends on the island.

The first ship from Miami entered Havana harbor in the early hours Friday.

The ships left from a Miami river terminal through what is to be a weekly service provided by International Port Corporation.

The company holds licenses from the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces the 50-year economic embargo on Cuba, and from the U.S. Commerce Department.

The service costs about $6 per half kilogram and takes one to two weeks, depending on the destination in Cuba.

Similar services exist from other U.S. ports, but this was the first time in 50 years that such a shipment had arrived from Miami, which is home to a large Cuban exile community.

Cuban media had not mentioned the renewed shipments.
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