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SOLOMONS’ CHOISEUL BUYS SECOND CARGO VESSEL Taiwan, national government, private company finance deal

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, June 26, 2010) – The Choiseul provincial government commissioned its second ship, the MV San Marcos, at Taro last Friday.

[PIR editor’s note: Taro, the capital of Choiseul, is located on a small island off the southwestern shore of Choiseul, which is a large island at the western extreme of the Solomon Islands chain, adjacent to the Papau New Guinea province of Bougainville. ]

MV San Marcos is a 35-meter, 340 ton cargo boat that has a loading capacity of 250 cubic metres and travels at 10 knots per hour.

The vessel was bought from Japan for SB$3.7 million [US$445,000] with funds from the national government SB$1 million [US$12,000], Taiwan Government SB$1 million, Lauru Shipping Company SB$1.6 million [US$193,000] and South Choiseul Constituency SB$100,000 [US$12,000]

It was named San Marcos for historical reasons. In 1568 when Mendana explored some parts of the Solomon Islands he called Lauru San Marcos or St Mark after the chaplain of his boat.

n 1768, 200 years later a French explorer named Bougainville explored San Marcos or Lauru again and named it Choiseul after French Foreign Affairs Minister at that time.

The Board of Directors of Lauru Shipping Company therefore considered the historical meaning of San Marcos and decided to name its second boat MV San Marcos.

Caretaker minister for provincial government Manasseh Maelanga and caretaker minister for infrastructure Stanley Sofu joined other officials at the ceremony.

The Lauru Shipping Company is owned by Choiseul Investment Authority a business arm of the Choiseul Province or Choiseul Provincial Government.

The company got its first boat Lauru 1 from Markwarth Company in 1998 with funds of SB$1.5 provided by the national Government.

"Since its establishment as a commercial entity of Choiseul Province the Lauru Shipping Company has been growing steadily and making profits," Managing Director Donald Pitanoe said.

He said the success of the company is due largely to commitment by people who are directly involved in its affairs with the support of business houses in Choiseul and non political interference by Choiseul politicians.

"Today the Lauru Shipping Company is one of the leading and promising shipping companies that values good practices such as accountability and transparency," he said.

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