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The Cross Bay Ferry continues operations during a bankruptcy filing

The Cross Bay Ferry, a white ferry with a red and black design on the sides lined with windows, is docked by the Tampa Convention Center. There is a group of a passengers standing on the front of the ferry. On land, there are blue fences, palm trees and GO BOLTS banners hung up.
City of Tampa
During bankruptcy proceedings, the Cross Bay Ferry is operating as usual.

Hornblower Group will continue transportation services like the Cross Bay Ferry while they move through the court-supervised process.

The parent company of the Cross Bay Ferry has filed for bankruptcy.

Hornblower Group filed a voluntary petition for relief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas on Feb. 21.

The company is going to continue transportation services like the Cross Bay Ferry, which offers transportation between St. Petersburg and Tampa, as usual while they move through the court-supervised process.

Hornblower is now operating under Chapter 11, which aims to keep businesses alive through a partnership plan. Majority financial ownership will be transferred to global investment firm Strategic Value Partners LLC, while private equity firm Crestview Partners will maintain a minor ownership role.

According to Hornblower’s press release, the agreement with the two firms will give the company $121 million in new-money financing to help support current operations and provide approximately $720 million in debt reduction.

“The steps we are taking to transition the ownership of Hornblower Group and strengthen our financial foundation will have no impact on the land and water-based experiences and transportation services we provide globally," Hornblower CEO Kevin Rabbitt said in a statement.

"All of our operations are running normally, and we are continuing to serve guests and commuters without interruption. We look forward to welcoming commuters on the ferry well into the future.”

In addition to this process, Hornblower received a commitment for $300 million in debtor-in-possession financing from Deutsche Bank Private Credit & Infrastructure to continue their remaining operations.

The Cross Bay Ferry is a part of Hornblower’s City Experiences division, which focuses on land and water-based tours and events across the globe.

The ferry's seventh season got underway last October with a new home on the St. Petersburg side — Port St. Pete.

The Tampa Ferry Terminal is located on the waterside of the Tampa Convention Center.

The ferry once again set a record for passengers in its 2022-23 season.

American Queen Voyages, an overnight cruise line business owned by Hornblower, has ceased running. The seven ship fleet will either be sold or wound down after the division was unable to bounce back post-pandemic.

Ari Angelo is a WUSF-USF Zimmerman Rush Family Digital News intern for spring of 2024.