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Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 Ground-breaking for Two room classroom in Chuuk, FSM

by Lt.j.g. William Mitchell


Untitled 3The ground-breaking ceremony was held on February 27th, 2018 at Chuuk High School at 1000. The dignitaries in attendance included Ambassador Robert Riley from the U.S. Embassy in Kolonia, Pohnpei; the Director of the Chuuk Department of Education, Mr. Graceful Enlet; and many more from the Chuuk State Government. Building the school will provide much needed infrastructure for the island but building relationships with the locals will allow the Seabees of NMCB-11 to give the community the tools needed to develop their own economy and allow them to be self-sustainable.

NMCB-11 Seabees are working to establish an apprentice program during their time in Chuuk. Ambassador Riley urged the community to “work directly and closely with the Seabees, who are true experts in construction techniques.” Teaching the local populace how to properly execute Seabee-proficient skilled trades would enable them to repair and maintain their infrastructure for many years to come.

The CCAD is in Chuuk to complete Humanitarian Assistance projects while providing support for the local community through apprentice training, military enlistment preparation, basic community health assistance, as well as unyielding community relation involvement. The Civic Aid project that the CCAD is tasked with is to build a new two-room classroom at Chuuk High School. The project is estimated to be completed on July 28th, 2018, providing the 875 students at Chuuk High School more space for classes and after school Naval Mobile Construction Battalion
(NMCB) 11 Ground-breaking for Two room classroom in Chuuk, FSM activities. The community relations aspect of the CCAD’s mission is being accomplished by conducting ASVAB training 3 days a week to the students at Chuuk High School, establishing an Apprenticeship Program to develop the technical expertise of the local community, teaching the high school students basic medical procedures such as CPR and continuously participating in local events.

NMCB-11 is a Seabee battalion specializing in contingency construction, disaster response, and humanitarian assistance. The battalion’s homeport is in Gulfport, Mississippi.

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USCGC KISKA conducts Orange Boat Initiative (OBI) in Chuuk

Untitled 4Santa Rita, GU — The Coast Guard Cutter KISKA, home portedin Santa Rita, Guam, is conducting community outreach in Chuuk State, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)following a week-long
Search and Rescue case.

Coast Guard Sector Guam conducted a rescuecase of three fisherman which were located 85 nautical miles from Chuuk earlier this week. The missing vessel was found with high visibility orange paint received from a previous engagement the Coast Guard conducted in FSM. To ensure continued success of this program, the KISKA conducted another OBI event in Chuuk during their stay, which resulted in 35 vessels receiving high contrast orange interiors.

Since the program’s first operational roll-out in the summer of 2015, over 400 privately-owned skiffs have orange interior paint schemes,
greatly enhancing detectability by search aircraft.

Through the assistance of the U.S. Embassy in FSM, the crew of the KISKA also participated in a local school restoration project which provided them the opportunity to continue their strong relationship with the island community.

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Traditional Yap chief axed for fishing deals with outsiders

March 6, 2018

By Joyce McClure

Pacific Island Times

Chinese, Koreans harvesting grouper and sea cucumber on the cheap in Ulithi Atoll

Colonia, Yap- Being a chief in Yap and its Outer Islands is taken very seriously and carries many responsibilities. Dismissal of chiefs is not taken lightly.  When a chief is dismissed by the traditional council that he sits on, his abuse of power warranting such an action must be substantial.

The membership of Fernando Moglith, Chief of Fedrai in Ulithi, in the Council of Tamol was terminated this week.

A letter was sent to Moglith from Ramon Peyal, Chairman of the Council, dismissing him “effective immediately” based on a “diligent review of your past actions and assessments of such actions…” Those actions were deemed to have “created disputes, fiasco, and segregation between families and clans in the Neighboring Islands Community especially Fedrai.”

One of those actions was Moglith’s fishing agreement with Topside Enterprise, a locally-owned business, which he did not discuss in advance with the Chairman of the Council and “neglected to touch base with your community before you made the agreement…” Another citation in the dismissal letter notes that Moglith also went to Fedrai with his “Korean friends” to harvest sea cucumber, disobeying “the general consensus of the Council not to remove any sea cucumber from the Neighboring Islands.” Upon arrival, the community “put a stop to your decision,” the letter declares.

According to Council Policy, “The Chairman of the Council of Tamol under that authority as the only head of the Office of the Council may remove any member with having justifiable cause and disturbance of Council of Tamol meetings and any other business affairs and stability.” The Chairman’s letter ends, “With the citations listed above, I am exercising them because you have left me no choice.”

The Chairman was assisted in his review of Moglith’s past actions by the chief and elders of Mogmog, the seat of the high chief of Ulithi. They will now meet with the people of Fedrai to give the directive to select a new representative to the Council. If the people are unable to choose a replacement, the Council of Tamol will do it for them.

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MOU signing between Vital FSMPC and Pohnpei State Government Dept of Public Safety - Division of Fire & Emergency Services

Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, February 20, 2018 – Vital FSM Petroleum Corporation (FSMPC) and Pohnpei State Government, 

Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire & Emergency Services (DFES) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the terms of which include coordination on matters of interest such as safety preparedness and response, health and environmental protection, information sharing and capacity building. The MOU was signed into effect by the Honorable Governor of Pohnpei State, Mr. Marcelo Peterson, FSMPC Chief Executive Officer Mr. Jared Morris, and Director of Public Safety Mr. Benito Cantero.


During a brief signing ceremony, FSMPC presented a donation of ten, double jacket fire hoses and swivel nozzles to the DFES, equipment that the Division had identified as most critical for fire-fighting. Governor Peterson expressed his gratitude for the donation and for the new partnership of like-minded public servants.

Vital-FSM Petrocorp launched its strategic plan called VT2025 in 2016.  One of the four strategic results areas is strengthened, mutually beneficial partnerships with government, NGO’s and communities. “Our business exposes us to hazards such as flammable and combustible liquids, and our efforts and priorities remain with a focus on operational safety and asset integrity. This MOU is a small start to improving our preparedness and response capabilities in the event of an emergency,” said Mr. Morris.

Witnessing the signing were personnel from both institutions, including DFES Assistant Director Mr. Patrick Carl, FSMPC Health & Safety Officer Mr. Juanito Hasugulmal and Competency Assurance Program Manager Mr. Garrison Irons.

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Weak La Nina cause of heavy rains and winds but should soon subside

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

March 6, 2018

FSM—For the last few months, residents of the FSM have noticed unseasonably high levels of rainfall, higher than average winds, and higher sea levels. Many have wondered what has been going on and whether or not it will come to an end.

In the FSM, those are precisely the results of La Nina conditions caused by lower than average sea surface temperatures that in the vicinity of the FSM cause wetter and colder weather than the FSM usually experiences at this time of year. Weather services have said that the La Nina conditions have been weak but that doesn’t mean that the results of the environmental conditions haven’t made things a bit more difficult than usual.

Last weekend, the Pohnpei Fishing Club postponed the Tuna Commission’s scheduled fishing tournament due to weather.  They’ve had to delay several tournaments in the last few months though they always plan to curtail tournaments in months when weather is usually capricious.  This year the weather has been unusually capricious due to the weak La Nina conditions.

On Monday morning, traffic was snarled in Kolonia due to very early morning heavy rainfall that drove gravel from the sidewalk project onto the street by the Social Security Administration Pohnpei office, a main intersection in Kolonia’s most populated area.  Early this year, the Pohnpei Department of Education felt compelled to cancel classes in Pohnpei due to the threat of predicted high winds that never developed during the days that schools were closed.

Weather forecasters are predicting that an end is in sight.  The current weak La Nina is predicted to resolve into a neutral position sometime between now and May.

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Audit of Nukuoro shows poor cash controls for 2015 and 2016

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

March 7, 2018

Nukuoro, Pohnpei—A Pohnpei Office of the Public Auditor (OPA) report on an audit of Nukuoro Municipal Government covering the years 2015 and 2016 showed that NMG was exposed to a high risk of loss, abuse and mismanagement of its financial resources.  The exposure was due to the lack of “proper internal control measures to govern and safeguard its cash receipts and cash disbursement activities.”

The Executive Summary of the recently released audit was dated February 15, 2018.

Auditors said that they could not be assured that all cash revenues collected during the two year audit period had been deposited into the bank.  NMG didn’t have a cash receipt journal or equivalent to keep track of its cash receipts.  Auditors could find no evidence that there had been any management oversight review of the revenue collection of NMG during the two year period.

On cash disbursements auditors discovered instances of checks that were made payable to “cash” that were not monitored and accounted for properly.  NMG allowed blank endorsement checks.  Some payments to vendors were issued in the name of an employee.  A $5000 donation to a non-governmental organization was unauthorized.  Cash disbursements were made without supporting documents.  It said that there was insufficient documentation to support payrolls and other cash disbursements and NMG also allowed payroll advances to its officials and employees.

The audit report said that previous audits had demonstrated similar uncorrected weaknesses.

In his response to the audit report, Mayor Senard Leopold agreed with all of the findings and said that he looked forward to working with OPA during the monitoring period to be sure that NMG corrects all of the identified problems.  He committed to ensuring that like findings never occur again.

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Pohnpei Governor gives State of the State address

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

March 6, 2018

Pohnpei, FSM—This morning, Pohnpei’s Governor Marcelo Peterson presented his State of the State address to the Pohnpei State Legislature as required by law.  It gave a thumbnail sketch of significant developments in the Agriculture, Education, Environment, Fisheries, Health, Infrastructure, Public, and Tourism Sectors.

The English language version of his speech was 10 pages of compact text that could not have been expected to have completely outlined all that is being developed in each sector.  Still the framers of the Constitution were wise to have required at least an annual address from the Governor to keep the people apprised of efforts the government has been making to try enrich their lives.

Nearly every sentence of the speech contained information that if filled out, could fill a newspaper article, and there were developments that, due to the limitation of time, the speech simply could not contain. Also due to limited print space in this newspaper, even the short thumbnails will have to be further condensed.

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