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Bill submitted to establish the Shipyard & Maritime Corp

fili@samoanews.com

A new government corporation, charged with the management and operations of the ASG owned shipyard in Satala, will be established, if a proposed Togiola Administration bill is enacted into law.

This week Gov. Togiola Tulafono submitted for Fono review and approval proposed legislation to establish under law, the Shipyard & Maritime Corporation of American Samoa and its major asset is the Satala based Ronald Reagan Marine Railways shipyard.

Via executive order in May of last year, the governor established the Shipyard Services Authority, and in a Sept. 11, 2012 letter to the Fono leaders, he points out that for over a year now, the shipyard authority has managed the operation of the shipyard.

“In that time, the shipyard has become a financially self-sustaining operation that has required no appropriations from the government outside the initial funds that were used to start operations,” the governor wrote. “Indeed, for FY 2012, the shipyard has produced a surplus.”

In FY 2012, expenditures were projected at $1.42 million with revenue at $1.53 million, resulting in forecasted surplus of over $100,000 and Shipyard Authority vice chairman David Robinson had confirmed last month that that they are on target for this surplus.

According to the FY 2013 budget book, total expenditures for the shipyard comes to $1.89 million while revenues are forecast at $2.17 million, with a projected surplus of close to $300,000. In FY 2011, the shipyard surplus is $60,237.

In his letter, the governor said the shipyard authority, in a short time “has provided that contracting with outside off-island companies to operate the Satala shipyard is unnecessary.”

The shipyard years ago was contracted to California based Southwest Marine, who later subcontracted it to MYD Samoa Inc, who has since filed for federal bankruptcy in Florida. ASG moved to oust MYD Samoa Inc.from the shipyard last year, citing among other reasons that it was never granted a local license to do business in the territory.

“American Samoa and its local workforce have the capacity to manage this key area and do the work so that the ship maintenance and repair needs of the local fishing industry are met,” he said. “Indeed, I believe that it has the capacity to expand its operation such that it will be able to meet these needs on a greater scale and that eventually it will be the preferred shipyard by boat and fleet owners in the region.”

According to the governor, creating the Shipyard & Marine Corporation “will provide a way for the fishing and boating community to receive competent and consistent shipyard services in perpetuity.”

He continued, “Since this corporation is non-profit, the [proposed] bill will also ensure that profits realized from shipyard operations are re-invested in the shipyard so that its services and facilities can truly become and remain first rate.”

Shipyard Services Authority chairman Carlos Sanchez had told the Senate last month that the authority is expected to hire more people in FY 2013 hiking the workforce to at least 60 workers. Additionally, more vessels are expected for the shipyard, which also continues to undergo renovations to meet international standards and therefore attract more ships.

For the new fiscal year the shipyard budget is proposing to repair five large boats at a cost of $200,000 each boat. Additionally, 24 small boat repairs at $35,000 each and one government boat repair at $100,000.

Because of the shipyard’s success, Sanchez was recognized by the governor during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, where the governor asked Sanchez to tell the cabinet about the thriving operation.



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