CPA urged to direct RTT to obtain 75-ton crane ASAP
Sen. Paul A. Manglona (Ind-Rota) has requested the Commonwealth Ports Authority to direct the Rota Terminal and Transfer Company Inc. to immediately obtain a 75-ton crane with a crane-scale mechanism and make it accessible to all vessels arriving and departing the Rota West Harbor.
Manglona, who chairs the Senate Public Utilities, Transportation, and Communication Committee, asked CPA executive director Christopher S. Tenorio last Thursday to direct RTT to immediately obtain—at RTT’s expense—a temporary crane of that magnitude/quality from one or more crane providers to be selected by RTT or CPA.
RTT has the exclusive right to conduct terminal and stevedoring services at the Rota West Harbor seaport.
Last Jan. 12, Tenorio sent a demand letter to RTT general manager Viola Hocog-Atalig to purchase a crane, repair parts or similar equipment for stevedoring services by Feb. 12, 2023, after learning that RTT’s crane is inoperable.
Tenorio threatened RTT that CPA may cite it for default if the crane is not obtained and the stevedoring services have not resumed by Feb. 12.
Manglona said RTT should immediately cede to a third party, to be selected and designated by CPA, the full authority and capacity to obtain and ship to Rota a temporary or permanent crane of that magnitude and to exclusively provide and operate that crane at Rota West Harbor, in addition to performing all CPA port/terminal facility stevedoring services and commercial activities.
Manglona also asked that CPA issue a written directive to all enterprises that load and offload vessels at the Rota West Harbor to direct that such enterprises immediately acquire a properly calibrated and certified flat-scale to weigh palleted and breakbulk cargo loads of less than 10 tons.
As veteran CPA personnel are fully aware, Manglona said, RTT’s operation of CPA seaport facilities during past decades “has been fraught with a litany of failures, deficiencies, and irregularities.”
Manglona said these have ranged the gamut “from breaches of the reputedly no-bid/exclusive use lease agreements prior CPA officials have conferred upon RTT since and prior to Jan. 29, 1996, to reputed patterns and practices of arbitrary rate and fee manipulation, price gouging, and weight/measure falsifications.”
The senator said this history makes clear that the presently inoperable RTT crane, as described in Tenorio’s Jan. 12, 2023 demand letter to Hocog- Atalig, is just the tip of the iceberg and the latest of these purportedly improper patterns and practices on the part of RTT.
Manglona noted that just 10 months ago, RTT yet again had no operable/functioning crane. He said that scenario compelled him to describe some of these issues and concerns in his March 14, 2022, letter to Tenorio.
The senator said this perhaps compelled CPA on March 15, 2022, to direct RTT to subsequently procure a crane or face default of its CPA lease agreement.
He said RTT’s most recent failing, having no operational crane at the Rota West Harbor, yet again compels Rota community members to bear heavy economic burdens and detrimental consequences.
Manglona said his understanding is that RTT now proposes to resume stevedore operations in substandard fashion—making use of a boom truck mechanism incapable of removing individual, fully laden, commercial shipping containers. He said this is simply intolerable.
The senator said he has contacted and conferred with several CNMI- and Guam-based entities who have expressed their willingness and ability to provide cranes of up to 75-ton capacity to be shipped immediately to Rota for stevedore/port/terminal operation activities at the Rota West Harbor.
Manglona said the exorbitant cost of goods, commodities, and necessities on Rota arises from this inequity and that it has forced many from the island to leave.
“They long but remain unable to return until and unless living on Rota becomes reasonably affordable,” he said.