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Shipyard reaches milestone with first purse seiner job

fili@samoanews.com

The ASG Shipyard Service Authority has reached another milestone in its accomplishments for the government owned facility, with its first purse seiner vessel last week on the slipway for repairs at the Ronald Reagan Marine Railway shipyard at Satala.

Speaking on his weekend radio program, Gov. Togiola Tulafono said he was at the shipyard late last week when the purse seiner was taken up the slipway, and this is a new accomplishment for the shipyard authority.

He said there were a lot of complaints and criticism at the start, when the government took over the shipyard, with some saying it would not survive under ASG operations — but the shipyard employees and its board have proven those criticisms wrong.

He said the shipyard crew worked hard for this and other improvements and it proves that our own local residents can do the job without having to bring in outside expertise to develop the shipyard or have a private firm manage the facility.

Shipyard authority vice chairman David Robinson said they were able to put the vessel on the slipway after “we carried out quite a bit of upgrade work on the platform to strengthen the slipway in order to accommodate large purse seiners.”

“It was quite fantastic for us. We were able to carry out the work, which included the long Christmas weekend despite very bad weather,” said Robinson, who added that the work has since been completed and the vessel was put on the ocean for testing yesterday, which was great timing, because of the excellent weather.

He said the shipyard is hoping in the first quarter of 2012 to get another purse seiner, saying that at least now other purse seiners are aware that the territory’s shipyard can accommodate their repairs.

Currently, he said, there are two longliners on the slip way and several more are booked up until April next year. “This is not only good for the shipyard, but for the government and the local economy,” said Robinson in a telephone interview. He said the slip way can accommodate two longliners, but only one purse seiner at a time.



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