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Tri-Marine seeking ten-year-lease

By Fili Sagapolutele PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Oct. 11, 2010) - Lawmakers will convene tomorrow for day one of a four-day Special Session called by Governor Togiola Tulafono. The only issue on the agenda is a land lease agreement between the American Samoa Government and Tri Marine International, which intends to operate the closed Chicken of the Sea Samoa Packing plant.

The Fono leadership received Saturday morning the communiqué from Togiola, calling the Fourth Special Session of the 31st Legislature. (The 4th and final session of the 31st Legislature ended last Saturday.)

Togiola set the special session for October 12th "for a period not to exceed four calendar days" and the only issue on the agenda submitted by the governor, is the lease agreement between American Samoa Government and Samoa Tuna Processors Inc. for government owed land at Atu'u which was formerly occupied by Samoa Packing.

"I am confident that you and your colleagues recognize the urgent need to consider this important matter," the governor said. "I extend my sincerest appreciation to the Legislature for your consideration and attention to this session and your careful consideration of the needs of our people."

As previously reported by Samoa News, the Bellevue, Wash-based Tri Marine registered three corporations in the territory in June, this year, and licenses were obtained to do business in American Samoa. The three companies are Tri Marine Samoa Inc., Samoa Tuna Processors Inc., and Samoa Fishing Management Inc.

Tri Marine Samoa and Samoa Tuna Processors are engaged in among other things, canning and processing fish, seafood and related by-products for wholesale and retail trade.

Togiola announced last week the signing in Honolulu of an initial lease agreement with Tri Marine for less than 10 years, with the option to renew for a longer lease period. It was also in Honolulu that Chicken of the Sea and Tri Marine signed an agreement turning over the Samoa Packing plant and equipment to Tri Marine.

Under local statute, any lease of 10 years or more is subject to Legislative approval. However, if the Fono fails to act on a lease within 30 days after its submission for Fono action, the lease is then automatically approved.

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