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Shipyard improvement funding not released until cost-benefit analysis received

Narrative received, not analysis…

While $1 million has been approved for shipyard infrastructure improvements, American Samoa Economic Development Authority Board Vice Chair Utu Abe Malae says the board is waiting for a cost benefit analysis from the Shipyard Service Authority, which oversees the government owned facility, before the money is released.

An ASEDA bonds report released Oct. 1 shows that $1 million has been allocated for the shipyard for facility improvement but none of the money has been expended yet. Responding to Samoa News questions, Utu said the ASEDA board approved the funding for shipyard “months ago" but it was “conditional upon the Shipyard Management submitting a cost-benefit analysis.”

“So far, we have not received any analysis,” Utu said Tuesday. “We initially did receive a narrative though.”

Asked for comment on the reason for delay in submitting cost analysis, shipyard board chairman Keniseli Lafaele, who is also Commerce Department Director, said the shipyard is engaging the services of a shipyard building company from the US to assess the integrity of the 3,000 ton marine railway, whether the piece-meal repair approach is appropriate or a comprehensive revamping of the slipway is needed, and to determine the cost of the latter.

“This assessment work will start in the latter part of November,” Lafaele told Samoa News yesterday. Lafaele is also a member of the ASEDA board.

Lafaele explained that the $1 million ASEDA allocation would be used to build a two-story warehouse building along the roadside of the compound. He said the first story will be to house machine shops, have space for repairs, while the second floor will be for classrooms for workforce training and development, and administration.

“This will make room on the ocean side of the compound for other purposes relative to the shipyard including the possible expansion of the StarKist freezer space as requested,” he said.

Besides the two-story building, the ASEDA bonds report, says the funding is to support improvements to the 3,000-tonnage slipway to facilitate repairs for large vessels such as purse seiners, long-liners, tugboats and other larger sea motor vessels.

It will also support improvement to the 1,000-tonnage slipway to facilitate repairs for smaller and medium size vessels to include yachts, alia, pleasure boat, and other smaller types of boats.

“The overall infrastructure development project will increase its capacity to assist both local and visiting vessels,” the report says. In addition to the warehouse, improvements to the facility enable space to be utilized to support local tuna canning facilities such as StarKist Samoa and Samoa Tuna Processors.

The report was released before Tri Marine International announced two weeks ago the indefinitely closure effective Dec. 11 of its Samoa Tuna Processors canning operation.

Last year, the shipyard was awarded $940,000 in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for procurement of equipment and supplies needed to restore the 3,000-ton slipway, the shipyard’s top revenue generator and the territory’s only provider of dry-docking services.

The slipway will be restored to meet required tuna fisheries and maritime industries standards making this project of high economic development value and a priority for the territory as a whole, according to the US Interior Department’s Office of Insular Affairs in announcing the CIP award.