8 Oct 2004

Marshalls government refuses to bail out tuna plant

8:20 am on 8 October 2004

The Marshall Islands says it won't bail out a financially-troubled tuna processing factory in the capital Majuro.

Government officials describe the factory's continued requests for state funding as untenable.

The managing director of Philippines, Micronesia and Orient Line, Robert Colson, has written to the President Kessai Note asking for the government's support.

Mr Colson wants the government to support a US$200,000 loan from the Bank of Marshall Islands so the plant can process a million dollars' worth of stored frozen fish which is in danger of spoiling.

He says about a million dollars worth of fish in the freezer facility waiting to be loined and if the plant does not resume operations within a very short period of time, the fish will spoil and the entire amount will be lost.

The plant is the largest private sector employer in the capital city and has been shut since the end of August because of cash-flow problems.

The government now wants to take management control of the plant.