HALIFAX -- The Nova Scotia government is handing $2 million to the company chosen to operate a ferry service linking Yarmouth with Portland, Maine, saying the money is needed by Nova Star Cruises to meet U.S. federal requirements.

Economic Development Minister Michel Samson says the money will be used by the company to post a bond required by the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission.

Samson says the $2 million will come from the $21 million the government has already committed over seven years to support a new service.

So far, the province has provided $6.8 million to the company, including the $2 million for the bond.

Mark Amundsen, CEO of Nova Star Cruises, says the funds will enable the company to start advertising fares and selling tickets.

Amundsen says he is looking forward to welcoming passengers aboard the ferry service beginning in May.

Samson says he also approved a one-hour change to the daily sailing schedule, which means the ferry will now arrive in Yarmouth at 8 a.m. instead of 7 a.m., and depart at 10 a.m., rather than 9 a.m.