The possible arrival of the awaited M/V Luta was among the topics discussed during the board of directors meeting held by the Commonwealth Ports Authority last Wednesday.
Director Barrie Toves raised the discussion to the board saying that there is information that M/V Luta will be arriving soon.
“It’s expected to arrive March 19,” Toves said.
However, Toves said the information needs to be verified by CPA management and see if it’s truly coming in.
“We’ve been anticipating this ship to come in and service the people of Rota and Tinian and the rest of the commonwealth and ease the hardship in terms of the shipping cost that drives up the commodities, the cost of living for both southernmost islands,” Toves said.
“This will really help Rota with their shipping problems,” he added.
Toves added that he’d like for CPA management to look into its facilities, adding that they don’t know the size and the scope of the ship yet.
“My biggest concern there is that, as we all know the facility down there is very small, congested,” Toves said, “If they are going to implement passenger, ferry services, we need CPA to look into the facility and how we can accommodate them.”
M/V Luta is said to be home-ported on Rota.
Director Roman Tudela echoed Toves’ sentiments, calling on management to witness the arrival of the ship to know the vessel and see how it’s handled.
Toves encouraged the board to engage with the company handling the M/V Luta and be vigilant in anticipating the venture that’s coming in.
“I want to make sure that everything is in order for us to address immediately not to wait until such time that they arrive,” Toves said.
M/V Luta, a retrofitted passenger and cargo vessel, was said to set sail from its current port in Louisiana to Rota last April.
In September 2014, Japanese businessman Takahisa Yamamoto invested about $1.6 million in the retrofitted cargo and passenger ship that will bring passengers, agricultural goods, and other consumer items to and from Rota, Saipan, Tinian, the Northern Islands, and Guam.
Yamamoto, from Osaka, Japan, owns Luta Mermaid LLC, the main business of which is to operate M/V Luta.
The 150-foot-long, 500-ton cargo ship was in Louisiana to obtain a certificate of inspection from the U.S. Coast Guard. The ship can accommodate 18 passengers and can carry up to 28 20-foot containers.