Investigation underway at the Port - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Investigation underway at the Port

by Janjeera Hail

There's no doubt the military buildup will bring an excess of traffic to Guam's ports of entry.  It appears the Guam Shipyard is looking to become a convenient alternative for the military, even though that flies in the face of the Port Authority of Guam and local law.

Red flags were raised after the Guam Shipyard loaded a barge with 140-foot long poles using their crane and stevedores, that was subsequently shipped to Hawaii for a military project.  The issue? The Shipyard isn't a port.

In fact, local law says that only the PAG has the ability to function as a commercial port.  Agency General Manager Glenn Leon Guerrero told KUAM News, "At the end of the day, we are the only commercial port and...our enabling legislation says that we do conduct all commerce regarding imports and exports. Obviously, with military sensitive cargo that is privy to them but other than that commercial cargo is our jurisdiction."

The Shipyard is supposed to function as a repair and maintenance facility. But if local law designating the Port Authority as the sole commercial port is interpreted as allowing the Shipyard to serve as an alternative port for military cargo, such could translate into a devastating loss in revenue for the PAG - a serious blow for the port's modernization plan.  Leon Guerrero says that he's been aware of the incident for some time, and that Port Authority officials had been in contact with Watts Constructors, even before the shipment of polls went out in July.

Watts Contractors is currently at the helm of several military projects in Hawaii.  

Meanwhile, the authority is exercising caution in moving forward.  Leon Guerrero says he's waiting for a recommendation from the authority's legal counsel, Lujan, Aguigui, & Perez, before deciding the next step.  "We're aware that something has happened we're investigating that and I'm not at liberty to talk about," he stated.  "What we want to address, all options before we move forward."

As of newstime, Shipyard owner Mathews Pothen had no comment and referred our inquiries to Watts Constructors, who could not be reached for comment.

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