Pacific International Inc. celebrated the opening of Majuro’s first net repair facility and a new dock, along with the arrival of its new landing craft, the Michelle K, in a well-attended ceremony Friday.
The dock and net repair facilities aim to cement Majuro’s role as a hub for the commercial tuna industry in the western Pacific.
The development of these facilities was hailed by President Hilda Heine for the development they will spur and jobs they will create. Parties to the Nauru Agreement’s Dr. Transform Aqorau said PII is delivering on a vision of first President Amata Kabua to establish the Marshall Islands as a service center for the tuna industry in the region.
“The completion of the first phase of the net repair and onshore repair facilities by PII and the Kramer family is an extension of the vision to make Majuro the eastern hub of the lucrative Western and Central Pacific tuna fishery,” said Aqorau. “Combined with the high number of vessels transshipping in Majuro, having a facility where they can undertake repairs to their nets and other fishing equipment will only add to the development of a more robust domestic tuna industry.”
President Heine led a VIP turnout for the celebration of these developments Friday. “The RMI is one step ahead in achieving successful progress, and ultimately elevating our economy (from) its current stagnant state,” said Heine. “These new additions to PII’s capabilities can only support positive growth in other sectors.”
The new net repair facility is specifically focused on servicing the hundreds of purse seiners that use Majuro as a transshipment point annually. These vessels often use Delap Dock to lay their nets along the dock for repairs — work that gets interrupted by the arrival of vessels needing to dock in Delap. But PII’s facility will allow net work to continue until complete in a facility designed for fixing large size nets. PII CEO Jerry Kramer said PII brought in net repair experts from Panama and Samoa to set up and initially run the facility, which he described as “the best in the region.”
“These investments in the Marshall Islands show that we are committed and believe in the economic development of the RMI,” said Kramer at Friday’s event. “This ship and net yard will help create dozens of direct and hundreds of direct jobs, and will help create commercial activity that will see pay rates increase and improve the tax base.”
Those attending the celebration of the facilities and vessel — which was blessed by Fr. Ray Sabio, MSC — toured the 200-foot vessel that arrived the day before from Papua New Guinea. PII wasted little time in getting the vessel into action, loading it over the weekend and leaving on a charter to deliver construction materials to Ebeye earlier this week.
The dock and net repair facility are “developments in line with the PNA vision underlined in the Bikenibeu Declaration in 2009 for members to increase their share of the value of the tuna,” said Aqorau. “The PII facility is certainly placing the Marshall Islands in a strong position.”
Read more about this in the February 17, 2017 edition.