WILMER JOEL and HILARY HOSIA
A new chapter is unfolding for Marshalls Energy Company (MEC) with the arrival of its fuel tanker Meram. The word “meram” means light in Marshallese. This fuel tanker alone can store 160,000 gallons of fuel and is capable of delivering to multiple islands. MEC hosted a christening ceremony for this vessel at Uliga Dock last Friday.
“My grandfather told me that the secret to winning a baseball game is if you choose your roster well,” said Irooj Yoland Zedkaia who spoke on behalf of her mother Lerooj Esther. “His words are evident with the leadership and lineup of MEC management in finding the solutions to bless the country and this is one of them.”
Uliga Councilwoman Neilani Ackley spoke for Mayor Ladie Jack, saying this vessel won’t only help Majuro but also will help neighboring islands.
Minister of Works, Infrastructure, and Utilities Jiba Kabua, who also chairs MEC’s board of directors, commended the leadership of MEC for fulfilling the goal of a new fuel tanker and making it a reality.
“They made sure the job was completed,” he said. “If it was food they make sure they would be no leftover.”
“In our work, MEC was at the mercy of those who had ships to help us deliver fuel to places that needed them,” said MEC General Manager Jack Chong Gum.
He added there were times when the ships were busy and unable to deliver to islands like Ebeye, Wotje, and Jaluit. The only thing MEC could do at that point was to ask them to ration power. Before the surge in fuel prices, MEC had to spend 600,000 a year to deliver fuel to these three islands.
“There were times when people ask if this investment made by MEC was worth it?” he said. “I told them yes. We want to be a supplier to all companies in the Marshall Islands, as the American saying says ‘if there is a will there’s a way’.”
Meanwhile, the vessel stopped first last week at Ebeye.
The breaking of a sacrificial bottle on the hull of new ships has been practiced over the centuries with the belief that doing so would bring good luck to the vessel and its crew.
Kwajalein traditional leader Anta Kabua had the honor of repeating the tradition during the soft christening of MV Meram on Ebeye earlier this month prior to its arrival to Majuro.
The vessel made its initial stop on Ebeye to deliver fuel tanks for the power plant on Ebeye. Kwajalein Atoll Joint Utility Resources (KAJUR) General Manager Joseph Pedro, the traditional leaders and Kwajalein Atoll Local Government representatives conveyed words of thanks during the brief ceremony.
The fuel tanker and the long-awaited fuel tanks for the power plant immediately became the talk of the whole island as majority of the population traveling and returning from work on nearby Kwajalein saw the vessel anchored near the wharf.
The best part of the christening ceremony was the food distribution — there was an abundance of food prepared for the ceremony that organizers started giving away food to Kwajalein workers getting off the ferry.
On the arrival of MEC’s vessel Meram at Ebeye, traditional, elected, religious and community leaders joined MEC/KAJUR staff to welcome and bless the vessel. Photo: Hilary Hosia.
At the Uliga Dock blessing ceremony for the newly arrived MEC vessel Meram, from left: Minister Wilbur Heine, Speaker Kenneth Kedi, Nitijela Member Wisely Zackhras, Minister Ota Kisino, Acting President Jiba Kabua, and Australian Ambassador Brek Batley. Photo: Wilmer Joel.
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