Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Guam Port Warns Shipyard About Future Misuse

The Port Authority of Guam appears to have had what may be the last word in the case of the island shipyard illegally used as a cargo facility. Port General Manager Glenn A. Leon Guerrero has issued a "cease and desist" letter to Guam Shipyard president Mathews Pothen, making it clear that commercial cargo operations are the sole jurisdiction of the port authority under Guam law.

In July, a Thomas/Brusco tug/barge was loaded at the shipyard with commercial cargo from Watts Constructors. While PAG is looking into whether or not this was the first such use of the shipyard, Guerrero's letter makes it clear that PAG intends it to be the last.

"You are hereby notified that any and all commercial cargo operations and like activities shall cease and desist immediately," wrote Guerrero, "unless expressly permitted and authorized by the Port Authority. Non-compliance will prompt the Port Authority to pursue restitution at the highest degree permissible by law, its rules and regulations and port terminal tariff, furthered by legal ramifications."

PAG has already collected the lost revenue from the shipyard over the illegal loading and the Harbor Master slapped the agent that handled the shipment, Norton Lilly International, with a Notice of Violation and a $2,500 fine.

"Should there be additional violations discovered," Guerrero wrote in the letter to the shipyard, "this letter again serves as your notification that the Port will pursue allowances to enforce compliance to our mandate."

While Guam law only allows commercial cargo to be handled at the PAG-operated port, PAG officials have said that under "extenuating circumstances" commercial cargo could be moved at facilities outside the port, albeit with the caveat that such shipments be overseen by PAG and that the port authority collects all revenues for the shipment.