An engineering company has been selected to conduct the Rota East Harbor feasibility study, which will determine if it is viable to develop another harbor on the island.
Press secretary Angel A. Demapan disclosed to Saipan Tribune that Moffats & Nichol, a company that specializes in marine engineering, bagged the feasibility study that must be completed within 180 days.
The total cost of the study is $205,063 and is funded by the Capital Improvement Project office.
Demapan said the Commonwealth Port Authority was earlier asked to be part of the evaluation team, but it declined.
“However to ensure that they are an active part of this analysis, they were identified as an important stakeholder so as to provide input and review. Any proposed development must be coordinated with the statutory authority of the CPA,” said Demapan.
Due to ongoing challenges in shipping commodities and other supplies to Rota, its elected officials have tossed around the idea of developing the island's east harbor to accommodate bigger vessels. The existing West Harbor channel is limited and cannot accommodate sea vessels longer than 235 feet.
Saipan Tribune learned that the request for qualifications for the Rota East Harbor Feasibility Study was issued in 2012. The main objective of the project is to examine the feasibility of developing the West Harbor in order to address current and long-term shipping needs of the community.
According to Demapan, the consultant is required to examine all prior studies so as to build on work previously conducted. Any proposed plan should project the shipping needs of the community for a 20-year period (2013-2034). Also a critical component of the analysis is obtaining the consensus of stakeholders, including the mayor of Rota, the Rota Legislative Delegation, CPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal Resources Management Office, Commonwealth Utilities Corp., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and commercial and recreational users.
The study will also require two public meetings to describe the proposed plan study and presentation of findings.