Nova Scotia's economic development minister expressed confidence Thursday in the company running a new international ferry service from his province to Maine.

Michel Samson said he believes Nova Star Cruises will be able to weather a challenging startup year.

"Year one is going to be an extremely difficult challenge, we realize that," said Samson. "We're going to continue to do what we can to make this service a success."

The company is getting $21 million over seven years from the provincial government.

The 161-metre cruise ferry is scheduled to make daily round-trip crossings until Nov. 2, but the company announced last week that the Nova Star would be taken out of service from May 27 to May 29 for a safety refit.

Nova Star Cruises said it needed the time to replace a marine evacuation system it borrowed, with its own safety system.

The company was required to activate its own system, which includes an inflatable chute and four life-rafts, during an inspection last month by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Samson said he wasn't concerned by the move so soon after the service's maiden voyage only two weeks ago.

"It was always the intention the minute the new safety equipment was available that they would install it on the vessel," he said. "I don't think this is out of the ordinary."

A company spokesman said Thursday that the safety system had been successfully installed and the vessel would resume service with a 9 p.m. departure from Portland, Maine.