House resolution honors first female local certified commercial diver


In this screen grab from YouTube, Dina Tenorio is presented with a House resolution commending her as the first female indigenous person from the CNMI to become a certified commercial diver, during a House of Representatives session yesterday. Also in the photo is the resolution’s author, Rep. Joseph Lee Pan T. Guerrero (R-Saipan), House members, Tenorio’s parents, and family members. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

The House of Representatives presented yesterday a House resolution to commend Dina A. Tenorio in honor and recognition as the first female indigenous person from the CNMI to become a certified commercial diver.

Authored by Rep. Joseph Lee Pan T. Guerrero (R-Saipan), House Resolution 22-23, also commends Tenorio for her success as a young entrepreneur in the CNMI.

The resolution states that, with 15 years of experience as a female commercial diver in a “male-dominated” industry, Tenorio has traveled to various locations worldwide and has had the opportunity to lead, supervise, and manage projects in remote locations and in the middle of the ocean where the closest land was days away.

The lawmaker said Tenorio always intended to return home and engage in entrepreneurial activities and give back to the community she left behind to advance her education and harness her skill set which she can now share with the future generation who share her love and passion of the ocean.

Guerrero said he met Tenorio during the 20th Legislature when she approached him and proposed having a hyperbaric chamber in the CNMI,

At the time, he said, had a bill drafted that would charge $10 for every dive of each tourist for the purpose of securing this hyperbaric chamber at the Commonwealth Health Center.

“Her experience and specialties are beyond recognition,” said Guerrero. “Dina, you earned this from the House 22nd Legislature that was passed through a committee as a whole. And we want to honor you for your dedication as the first female to take this daunting task to be a master diver.”

Tenorio said she would have never imagined herself receiving such a recognition 24 years ago.

Tenorio said she was part of a non-profit organization called Tanapag Action Group several years ago, in which shed data on [polychlorinated biphenyls] scattered all over Tanapag. “This chemical was left behind by the military and it surrounded my sanctuary,” she said.

Tenorio said it was the Tanapag Action Group that would represent the stepping stone that led to her amazing future opportunities.

After this experience, Tenorio worked for the Division of Environmental Quality, in which she was introduced to the world of diving.

“The infield experience and knowledge that I gained created a desire to learn more about underwater opportunities,” she said.

Not too long after Tenorio worked for DEQ, a non-profit organization based in Hawaii gave her a chance to work for the Western Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Council in Guam.

Tenorio said she packed her bag and started another journey as an environmental technician that required diving and collaboration with the Guam Department Fish and Wildlife.

Tenorio said she did some research and discovered the National Polytechnic College of Oceaneering Engineering. “Once again, I packed my bags and moved to San Diego and continued my learning journey,” she said.

Tenorio spent a year there studying commercial diving with specialty in non-destructive testing. “I did it. I was a certified commercial diver,” she said.

Tenorio then worked in Louisiana for offshore diving companies doing pipeline construction for the oil and gas industry.

She said the road to being an offshore commercial diver in the industry was one of the toughest and most challenging experience she had ever endured.

“But at the same time, it was one of the best experiences of my life,” she said.

Two years later, Tenorio was finally given the official title as a commercial diver and not just a tender diver.

“Fast forward to today, I am standing before you as a humble business owner, a hardworking certified commercial driver. And I stand before you as the only female underwater welder in the CNMI,” she said.

She encouraged the future generations to dream big and turn those dreams into a reality.

The commercial diving industry is considered a male-dominated industry. As of 2017, there were approximately 3,300 commercial divers in the world and only 0.3% of that were females.

Tenorio graduated from Marianas High School and went on to attend the Northern Marianas College where she majored in Computer Science and Business Management. In 2007, she graduated from the College of Oceaneering in Aero Court, California with a commercial diving certificate with specialty of non-destructive testing on ultrasonic testing level 1 certificate.

She extended her education by obtaining additional certificates. She performed, among other things, deep sea pipeline construction in the Gulf of Mexico for the oil and gas projection industry.

Tenorio is also a certified diver medic and is authorized and certified to temporarily treat certain injuries onsite until the proper authorities arrive.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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