StarKist Am. Samoa To Close For Holidays Next Weekend

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Company allows cannery workers to go back to Samoa for Christmas

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Dec. 11, 2014) – StarKist Samoa’s annual year end maintenance shut down is set to begin weekend after next, allowing cannery workers to head to Samoa for the holidays, while inter Samoa flights are full, with the heaviest traffic the week before Christmas.

Cannery production has been six days a week for the past several months and this has made many employees happy with additional money for their families heading into the holiday season.

StarKist Co., corporate spokesperson Michelle Faist said StarKist Samoa production is only five days this week and again five days next week - Dec. 15-19. Then the annual maintenance shut down begins Dec. 20.

"We will resume production on Jan. 5, 2015," Faist said from the company’s headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The end of the year down time allows the cannery to carry out maintenance and upgrades to its equipment and facility to prepare for the new year.

There was no information at press time about the production schedule or holiday down time for Talofa Systems American Samoa Inc., the local can manufacturing plant acquired recently by South Korean based Dongwon industries, owner of StarKist Co., and StarKist Samoa.

With production set to end on Dec. 19, many cannery workers who are from Samoa will head to Apia for the holidays for two weeks. They are joined by other local residents planning to spent Christmas in Samoa keeping inter Samoa flights very busy.

Polynesian Airlines local station manager Toe Loia explained that holiday season is always the busy time for the inter Samoa routes with many booking flights in advance and flights for December "have been full" for a long time.

However, "the heavy passenger traffic is Dec. 15 to Dec. 24 at which time there will be at least 15 flights per day using all three aircraft to serve the traveling public on the inter Samoa route," Loia said yesterday in a brief phone interview.

The Samoa government owned airline will also continue to serve Manu’a with three flights a week based on demand. Polynesian is operating American Samoa’s domestic route under a cabotage exemption from the U.S. Transportation Department.

Besides passengers, one of the big issues faced by the airline during the holidays is cargo, and Polynesian plans to move all the cargo as fast as possible on its flights.

For the MV Lady Naomi, the local agent, Polynesian Shipping said that today’s sail will arrive and depart as scheduled.

Then the next two trips before Christmas are set for next Monday, Dec. 15 and Dec. 22, which is also a Monday. The passenger ferry will arrive around 8a.m. and depart in the afternoon. And while there is still room on the Dec. 15th sail to Samoa, the Dec. 22nd sail is "fully booked".

The last sail of the MV Lady Naomi for 2014 is scheduled for Dec. 29, according to Polynesian shipping. For more information call 633-1211.

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