CPA wants Chinese vessels sank

Posted on May 25 1999

The CNMI government has prodded the US Marshals in Guam to help it dispose the captured vesells of the illegal Chinese immigrants by sinking the ships into the ocean.

Commonwealth Ports Authority Executive Director Carlos H. Salas said the such move is the most cost effective and beneficial solution in getting rid of the migrant vessels.

According to Salas, CPA is extremely concerned with the status of the boats because of its possible threat to the marine environment and ultimately to the commerce of the port of Tinian as the typhoon season is fast approaching.

“Because of limited resources of the CNMI government, could the US Marshal Service assist us in terms of cost and the arranging of the disposal of these vessels?” Salas asked the US Marshal Services in the neighboring island.

The ports authority has discussed the need to immediately dispose the vessels with Department of Labor and Immigration Secretary Mark Zachares. Earlier, US Coast Guard Capt. Scott J. Glover said the US Immigration and Naturalization Service has transferred custody of each of the four boats to the CNMI government when they arrived on Tinian island.

During Friday’s board meeting, Salas said he does not see any reason why the US Marshal will not be able to assist the Commonwealth since it has helped Hagatna officials in disposing the ships used by Chinese in entering Guam illegally.

The ports authority has ruled out the possibility of selling the vessels for commercial use since the boats do not have the proper documents needed in the sale. No company on the island has expressed interest to acquire the vessels or dismantle the parts to be sold later for scrap because the value is very low.

At least four boatloads of undocumented Chinese have been intercepted by the US Coast Guard near Guam waters and eventually diverted to the island-municipality of Tinian.

There are almost 500 Chinese nationals sheltered temporarily in the “tent city” hastily set up by American troops at the Northfield, a former US military airbase.

Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio has expressed concern on the influx of undocumented Chinese nationals, believed to be victims of human smuggling. The CNMI’s security concern was brought about by the lack of assurance from representatives of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service as to when repatriation will begin and how long will the island government play host to the Chinese nationals.

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