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Thursday, April 17, 2014

MOU underway for designation of authorized port operator on Tinian

The Commonwealth Ports Authority may soon ink an agreement with a company that would be in charge of running the Tinian port following disclosure that a memorandum of agreement between parties is now being readied.

Tinian Marine Stevedore Inc. officials had approached the CPA board, seeking a formal designation as the authorized Tinian ports operator, a document that would certify their legitimate business on island.

According to Norman Tenorio, the company’s board member, they need the MOU to signify that they are authorized and have legitimate business at the port of Tinian.

Tenorio’s personal appearance at a CPA board meeting last week, along with company executives Mike Tenorio and Mike Demapan, was also intended to clarify an earlier “misconception” about their request.

It was earlier reported to the board that Tinian Marine Stevedore Inc. is requesting exclusive stevedoring rights on Tinian, an idea that was initially opposed by the Tinian delegation.

“We’re not asking exclusivity. What we want is to be designated as the authorized operator for the port of Tinian because right now, what we only have with CPA is a lease [agreement] but we don’t have designation,” clarified Mike Tenorio.

According to CPA executive director MaryAnn Lizama, there were two stevedoring companies on Tinian at one point: Tinian Stevedore and Tinian Marine Stevedore Inc. Due to the slowdown in activities at the island’s port, both pulled out their operation.

When Tinian Marine Stevedore returned, Tenorio said that they started seeking this designation from CPA, to no avail. The company, he said, is banking on the arrival of military vessels and other ships on Tinian. To date, it was disclosed that they lack a “document” to show authorities like the U.S. Coast Guard and OSHA when required one.

According to CPA’s Lizama, Tinian Marine Stevedore is the only stevedoring company on Tinian at present and that it pays its lease faithfully.

However, she disclosed that there are some concerns aired by small boat owners on the potential imposition of new charges assessed by the company if designated this authority.

But, according to company’s officials, they are after the vessels that dock in the main port of Tinian.

According to Norman Tenorio, it’s always been the position of the company that “what’s good for Tinian is good for the Tinian Marine Stevedore.” He said they are receptive to the idea about a new hotel investment that reportedly wants to be built on where the company is currently sits.

He said all they need is to just be informed about the finalized plan and the site where they will potentially be relocated.

Despite the continued difficulty faced by businesses on Tinian, Tenorio said that Tinian Marine decided to take the risk in an aim to continue doing business on the island.

Board member Benigno Sablan indicated that the MOU will be prepared by the agency’s legal counsel, Janet King.

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