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Seeks partnership with government port authority

By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor GUALO RAI, Saipan (Marianas Business Journal, Sept. 27, 2010) – Sarandos "Sam" L. Markos, president and chief executive officer of Sea-Lago Inc., has proposed a partnership with the Commonwealth Ports Authority to build a dry dock and boat repair facility for tourist-related and commercial vessels ported in Micronesia.

Markos, who made the proposal to CPA on Aug. 6, said the proposed project would be located at the South Sea Plane ramp, including all the ramp and land currently not leased to Pacific Subsea and SN-5.

The initial plan is to construct rail type dry dock system that will operate on the Sea Plane ramp with the capability to handle vessels weighing up to 100 tons.

Markos told the Journal the project would cost between US$750,000 and US$1 million investment.

"We are planning to invest approximately US$150,000 initially with further improvements to follow, in the way of buildings, shops and facilities to both handle the repairs, dry docking, storing and (re)fueling of vessels as well as facilities to help train and offer on-the-job training for our local workforce," Markos said.

He added that the facility may include fuel distribution with fuel operation set up with either Mobil or Shell Marianas.

Markos will use personal funds to finance the project, but will seek federal grants to subsidize its cost.

He added that ultimately he wanted to build a locally owned and operated marine facility that will draw vessels from the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam and a facility that will be able to handle vessels weighing up to 250 tons.

But before he could jumpstart the project to begin survey, groundwork and facility planning, Markos needs to secure lease of the South Sea Plane ramp from the CPA. "We would be seeking a five-year initial lease term, with four additional five-year renewal options," he said.

In order for his project to get off the ground, Markos is banking on a low affordable lease fee so he could spend heavily on building the facility and investing on equipment.

In lieu of rent, Markos said his company is interested in including CPA as a partner in the business, with portion of the proceeds going to CPA.

In the CPA board meeting, Markos told members of the CPA board that he intends to work with his neighbors as he sees developing an "amicable relationship" with the other tenants in the proposed site. He also assured the board that there would be no disruption of operations of SN-Five.

Edward I. Deleon Guerrero, executive director, CPA, said the proposal has yet to be approved by the board. He said there would need to be negotiations.

Benigno Sablan, member, CPA board, acknowledged in the CPA board meeting that Markos’ proposal "is workable."

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