- Category: News
- Published: Tuesday, 04 September 2018 05:21
- Written by Bill Jaynes
- Hits: 1332
On Monday, July 30, 2018, a tugboat entered the harbor off Colonia; it was identified as the “Mtug OCEAN SUPPORT”, a vessel owned by Fahrenheit Co. Ltd. that was intended to tug along the MV Forever Lucky and cargo meant for the 2018 Micronesian Games. Upon arrival, the vessel was denied by immigration and quarantine authorities, citing lack of an entry permit.
The tugboat has been quarantined at the eastern end of the port, with its 16 Philippine nationals charged with immigration violations. The FSM National Police has signed an affidavit in support of the injunction served to the vessel’s captain and Fahrenheit’s representatives. It appeared that the National Police officer who signed the affidavit was not familiar with the content of the affidavit.
On Wednesday, August 1, the Governor communicated to the FSM President of the issue, requesting assistance in providing clearance for the vessel. The letter also thanked the FSM National Government for contributing to the successful hosting of the 2018 MicroGames in Yap.
In the letter, Governor shared that while an entry permit was issued for the Forever Lucky on June 9, one was never issued for her tugboat. The Forever Lucky was eventually released by the Philippine authorities, but was too late to arrive in Yap for the Games. As for the tugboat, state authorities did submit the necessary documents requesting for an entry permit from FSM Immigration & Labor on July 9, with a follow-up communication on July 23. But an entry permit was never issued, or any denial of an entry permit communicated. These communications were forwarded to the Secretary of Justice on August 2, 2018 in response to the Secretary’s e-mail that there was no communication to his Immigration staff regarding the tugboat. In response to this e-mail, the Secretary stated that he would verify this with his staff and respond as soon as possible; but to date, the State has not received any further response. The tugboat left the Philippines late and arrived late on July 30 due to inclement weather, bringing freezer container cargo and other donated goods meant for the MicroGames.
According to the Yap State Department of Resources & Development, Fahrenheit was issued a Foreign Investment Permit in May of this year; allegations of illegal business were false. It was also shared that while the Forever Lucky was detained in the Philippines on allegations of human trafficking, human smuggling and illegal documentation, ultimately there were no formal or informal warrant or complaint against Fahrenheit and the Forever Lucky by Philippine authorities, as falsely reported by some members of the press.
Currently, the tugboat’s crew are not permitted by FSM Immigration to disembark the vessel. Additionally, the shipping agent and state officials are not allowed to board the vessel. The Governor in his letter urged the President to assist in the matter for “humanitarian reasons as well as our future urge for foreign investment”.
“We request that the owner and crew of the vessels must not be penalized for going out of their way to assist with the Micro Games despite the given extenuating circumstances,” read the letter. “We know that it is not their intention to violate any national or state laws but perhaps due to miscommunication between the State and National Government relevant offices.”
The letter further stated that the State will continue to collaborate with the FSM National Government on the clearance of the vessel and its cargo in accordance with FSM laws and regulations, “as we did before the games”.
The Yap State Government has not been part of any media releases being published lately in various media platforms, as it continues to identify with the National Government certain oversights that may have directly or indirectly contributed to the overall misunderstanding. The State Government is in the process of affording appropriate actions toward the release of unverified information and claims that are promoting falsified and compromising information to the general public.