KUAM tours the new Cabras Marine ship repair facility - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

KUAM tours the new Cabras Marine ship repair facility

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Months after being awarded the coveted US Navy Ship Repair Facility contract, Cabras Marine Corporation is finally ready to activate aimed at diversifying the job market on Guam.

Cabras Marine Corporation along with its hundreds of employees officially launch and open the PACDIM Ship Repair Facility on Naval Base. President Joseph Cruz explained, saying, "Last December Cabras was awarded a contract to repair ships alongside here at Naval Base on what used to be known as the Ship Repair Facility - today we're launching our actual activation of the facility, our first ship arrives next week the 14th of April."

It was last year when the US Navy awarded Cabras Marine with a one year contract with four option years for pierside ship repair capabilities at the former SRF worth approximately $75 million. Cruz says he was not privy to details as to the state of how the former tenant Guam Shipyard left it, only saying they've been resolved but it required some work. "So now that we have access to the space we've installed our own equipment so during that time to now we've been preparing the facility to fix ships over the past two months we've been having the equipment installed, having the facility rehabilitated and getting our workforce in place," she said.

That workforce involves 220 employees. Cruz says 80 to 100 of them were formerly employed with the Guam Shipyard. As we reported it was last year when Guam Shipyard employees were suddenly laid off without notice once the contract was awarded to Cabras. Cruz expects to hire 50 to 100 more, noting, "Its so important to Guam because its an opportunity for us to contribute to diversify our economy. We're a very tourism based economy and we believe, Cabras does, that the ship repair industry is something Guam can further develop and the fact that we have many US Navy ships that come to Guam, that we have a thriving military port, creates that opportunity."

Speaking of opportunities, Cabras held an indentureship ceremony for 50 candidates part of the company's apprenticeship program. Including 19-year-old Rebecca Stratton - one of a handful of women in the program- who has been fire watching and observing welders. "I decided to become involved because I'm looking for opportunities to make my life better and to learn trades as I grow up," she told KUAM News.

Also in the same boat is 23-year-old Stevy Villanueva who hopes to become a certified marine mechanic to fix ships not only on Guam but around the world, saying, "I want better opportunities in life and I want to move forward and I have experienced having a dead end job and it didn't work and its an open door and an opportunity and I want to grab it."

And with its first ship set to arrive next week, these two and the many other employees of cabras can expect more work their way. 

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