FSM CONGRESS TOLD MICRONESIA NOT TRAINING SAILORS

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PALIKIR, Federated States of Micronesia (Oct. 30, 2002 - FSMIS/PINA Nius Online)---The lack of Federated States of Micronesia citizens graduating from merchant marine academies was discussed in a congressional Committee on Transportation and Communication hearing.

A few young men have completed training at the Fisheries and Maritime Institute, located in Yap state. But none have gone on to maritime schools in the United State or elsewhere for many years, according to testimony.

During the U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands period, students from what is now the Federated States had attended these schools in the Pacific Islands and the United States.

The Fisheries and Maritime Institute in Yap can teach basic levels of maritime skills and knowledge. But the committee said the nation needs to encourage young people to enroll in maritime schools and get higher qualifications for working at sea.

Federated States of Micronesia is eligible under the Compact of Free Association with the United States to nominate candidates for American merchant marine academies.

The problem with charges for harbor piloting in Chuuk state were also questioned during the hearing.

Witnesses said there is a problem with the amount of fees charged to bring vessels in and out of Chuuk harbor, causing trouble with the ship officials.

In the other three states, there are only three charges: one to enter the reef, one at the anchorage and one in port. In Chuuk, there are two at all three places, the hearing was told.

Officials from the fishing companies, the departments of Justice and Economic Affairs and other associated offices were brought in to discuss ways to improve the industry.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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