A longliner on the slip at the the Ronald Reagan Marine Railway for repair work, highlighting the shipyard’s main source of revenue, and its contribution to the territory’s economy. [courtesy photo]

The Shipyard Service Authority, the ASG entity that manages and operates the Ronald Reagan Marine Railway, is on target for its prediction of a surplus for the current fiscal year and is forecasting another one in the new fiscal year, says authority board vice chairman David Robinson.

The FY 2012 surplus for the Satala based shipyard was first revealed last September during FY 2012 budget hearings, when Robinson told lawmakers that its budget was compiled from scratch since there was no previous shipyard budget.

The authority was forecasting revenue of $1.53 million and expenditures of $1.42 million resulting in a surplus of $115,000 for FY 2012, which officially ends on Sept. 30, 2012.

When asked yesterday for an update, Robinson told Samoa News that, “we are on target” for the $115,000 surplus for the fiscal year. For the new fiscal year 2013, he said budgeted revenue is $2.15 million while expenses are at $2.03 million with a projected FY 2013 surplus of $120,000.

Robinson told the Fono last year that the surplus will be re-invested back into the shipyard. He also said that the board is “very confident” of the success of the shipyard and the benefits it will bring to the territory with more boats coming here for repairs.

For this year heading into 2013, Robinson said yesterday, “we are expecting more work on purse seiners  as well as longliners and we expect to increase our labor force from 42 now by another 10 in the immediate future.”

“In the first twelve months of operation, the shipyard has purchased supplies and services from local businesses to the value of over $500 million, and our employees have been spending their ever increasing paychecks, $485,000 so far this year, with local businesses,” Robinson said proudly.

(ASG took control of the shipyard from MYD Samoa on May 31 last year after a long court battle in Florida. The shipyard authority was established by the governor’s executive order a week before May 31)

“Additionally, the increasing numbers of fishing vessels that are having their work carried out in the shipyard has meant that crews of ships docked at the shipyard spend money in the local community, and the vessels purchase more fuel, provisions, spare parts and other items from local businesses as well,” he said.

“We are expecting the fiscal year to be another successful one for the shipyard, [and] we expect to be on budget and to provide significant support again to the local business community,” he said.

Last year, the shipyard authority secured $1.08 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, which were used for major purchases and capital improvements with the help of the Territorial Office of Fiscal Reform.

Asked how much it cost the shipyard to repair the ASG vessel MV Sili, and when they expect to get paid, Robinson said total costs came to $181,262 and “we expect payment anytime soon from funds now being arranged through the Port Administration budget.”

Carlos Sanchez, the Chairman of the Board of The Shipyard Service Authority, and interim General Manager, said in a press release to Samoa News, “It is important to note that since June of 2011, we have sufficient funds for operations, the shipyard does not require any subsidies from the general government, the workers have full work schedules and many times earn overtime pay due to demand. We now have equipment and tools necessary to do our work and sufficient materials to service the repairs needs of all vessels. Repairs to the slipway and our facilities are ongoing as funds are available, and we will continue upgrading and improving all of our facilities and surrounding areas.”

He concluded, “We are committed to rebuilding the shipyard with continuous improvements going forward.

“In the past, approximately forty- five purse seiners used to operate out of American Samoa and the local supporting businesses benefitted directly, even though these boats were not completely refitted here. We hope that through our efforts, we can bring back as many boats such as those glory years past. ”

Reiterating previous invitations, Sanchez said, “We ask only for the good faith of our people, and we welcome leaders and residents alike to come and visit us to see what we’re doing at your shipyard. Any questions pertaining to our finances reported can be directed to our comptroller, Mr. Peter James. We are proud to be a part of this community and look forward to serving the people and contributing to the economy of American Samoa for years to come.”


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