18 Oct 2010

Copra production in Marshalls hampered by poor shippng service

10:22 am on 18 October 2010

The production of copra in the Marshall Island is being hampered by a poor shipping service.

Copra production has fallen to its lowest level in five years due to the sporadic shipping service to the outer islands.

The vessels which usually service the islands are owned by the Marshall Islands Shipping Corporation.

Its General Manager, Wally Milne, says the vessels don't work as often as he would like them to.

He says light maintenance and safety checks are carried out on a regular basis.

But he says they really need major maintenance work but for that to happen they need to drydocked.

Wally Milne says government has provided some money but that's still not enough.

"Ive been here four years, and we requested again this year in the Senate in September and all they have given us, we have four vessels and all they have given us is 300,000 thousand dollars to drydock the ships, I don't know what 300,000 is going to get us but that's what they got. There is no way we can drydock any ship for 300-thousand."

The Foreign Minister, John Silk, says the government's top priority is getting new vessels and is in negotiation with the Japanese government to fund the construction of two new ships.