ASG Shipyard has new client, Tongan government
The Tongan government is now looking at American Samoa’s shipyard to dry dock and repair its vessels, with the first to be in the territory in early September and the hope of other boats to follow, while the Ronald Reagan Marine Railway's newly created website has attracted attention from possible overseas clients.
Earlier in June, a delegation from Tonga that included officials from their government owned shipping company was in the territory. The delegation met with local ASG officials including those from the American Samoa Shipyard Service Authority.
From that meeting, the Tongan government shipping company’s manager arranged to dry dock their passenger ferry in American Samoa on Sept. 8 this year and possibly one of their patrol boats during September, according to shipyard board chairman David Robinson, responding to Samoa News inquiries.
“Early next year we should dry dock their cargo vessel. The Tongan government decided to use our facilities as our rates are competitive and the quality of our workmanship is good,” Robinson said.
Meanwhile, Robinson says the shipyard is promoting and marketing their services "through our newly developed website... and we are receiving more and more hits from international companies in the fishing and vessel owning business.”
As previously reported by Samoa News, John Wasko’s company, Calumet has been contracted to develop and watch over the website www.americansamoashipyard.com at the cost of $1,500 a month, for as long as his services are required. Wasko is a long-time resident of the territory.
“The services are not only to develop a website, but to carry out research into regional fishing activities, to provide information on companies that we wish to contact and a whole range of other information related to the Pacific fishing industry so we can target companies in our attempt to gain more work for the shipyard,” Robinson told Samoa News last month.
“We have dry dock bookings now through early next year with a mix of purse seiners, longliners and government vessels,” Robinson said last Friday. “The MV Sili is up now for about ten days for its routine check, inspection and certification by the U.S Coast Guard.”
He also said that work has commenced by a local company using Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to rehabilitate parts of the shipyard damaged in the 2009 tsunami and this work will probably take 4-6 months to complete.
Additionally, the shipyard recently installed the new hauling motor for the dry dock that was purchased from Westinghouse USA last year at a cost of $74,000 and this compliments the new hauling chain and the railway alignment work that was carried out last October with assistance from Crandall company and its dry dock engineers.
Robinson added that the request for proposal (RFP) for privatization of the shipyard should be out in the next few weeks.
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga earlier this year requested that the board come up with a draft RFP to privatize the shipyard.