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GOVERNMENT ASSURES ACCOMMODATIONS AND CATERING READY FOR MICROGAMES

PRESS RELEASE – July 6, 2018

Colonia, Yap. The Yap State Government in close collaboration with the FSM National Government and the 2018 Micronesian Games Organizing Committee (MGOC) was able to reach an agreement this year with Philippine-based Fahrenheit Company Limited to provide accommodations and catering services. Accommodations came in the form of a 146-room cruise ship—the M/V Forever Lucky—to be docked at the Colonia port in Yap, with bookings for rooms going online on May 11, 2018 (http://fclsubic.com/home/2018/05/forever-lucky-cruise-ship/).

On July 3, Forever Lucky was intercepted by the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine Coast Guard at the Orion Port of Bataan, Philippines. The ship, along with 41 crew members and 139 workers, were being held in custody at the port pending submission of required documents and the results of the authorities’ investigation of alleged human trafficking and illegal documentation.

On July 4, the MicroGames Organizing Committee C0-Chairs convened with the Yap State Leadership in a special meeting to discuss the issue. The Governor met with selected Cabinet members again this morning to provide the government’s side of updates after close collaboration with the group tasked by the FSM President to assist the State of Yap on this particular matter. Following that meeting, the Directors of the Departments of R&D (the Co-Chair of the MGOC Marketing & Communications Committee) and DY&CA (the Co-Chair of the 2018 MicroGames Organizing Committee) were tasked by the Governor to take the lead on this urgent matter. The directors called a special and final meeting of the Organizing Committee to update the MGOC on developments on the cruise ship issue, and to formalize the necessary course of actions.

The MGOC Marketing & Communications Committee Co-Chair reported that as of this morning, the outlook seemed positive with the ship still coming to Yap, after liaising with the ship’s management in the Philippines. During the meeting, it was shared that one of the issues faced now in the Philippines with the ship owners was no longer the transport of the 139 workers on the ship—which was not permitted by Philippine authorities—but the seaworthiness of the vessel to transport that many persons aboard. Fahrenheit Company Limited has informed Yap State that it is exploring options to fly in the workers in a charter flight to Yap directly from the Philippines, leaving only the crew to man Forever Lucky to Yap after the successful issuance of a special permit. The workers will then rendezvous with the ship in Yap. The company also reiterated their understanding that the ship reaches Yap on the stressed deadline of two days before July 13.

The Organizing Committee also shared in the meeting that the Yap State and FSM National Governments have intervened to provide their assistance. As of this morning, the DY&CA Director reported that he was in close communication with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. The Secretary has received instructions from the President to expedite a government-to-government dialogue with the Philippines to assist in the release of the ship. The Department of Foreign Affairs has already transmitted a diplomatic note to the government of the Philippines requesting assistance on the ship’s release in order to assist the State of Yap in the accommodation of athletes, officials, VIPs and spectators. By request of the Yap State Governor, the FSM National Government is soliciting assistance from the FSM Honorary Consul in the Philippines as well. Both Directors of R&D and DY&CA confirmed that with the assistance of the FSM National Department of Justice, all necessary documentation for Forever Lucky was completed—thus resulting in the issuance of the ship’s entry permit so the ship can enter the FSM’s jurisdiction. It is now up to the Philippines and the ship to finally depart its port for Yap sometime this weekend without further delays, as many of the Games’ athletes, officials and VIPs have already booked their accommodations on Forever Lucky. Additionally, the ship is also charged with the responsibility of catering and feeding all the athletes, volunteers and games officials.

The Organizing Committee during the meeting stressed that the pressing problem now was catering. The ship was supposed to arrive a week earlier before the start of the Games to prepare for catering services. The Athletes Village is scheduled to open on the 13th of this month. MGOC Co-Chair & CEO stated that local food providers would need to be identified today; the Food Security & Catering Committee would have to take the lead in coordinating this along with its currently ongoing tasks, to engage local catering services to provide for the over 300 athletes from the different participating entities scheduled to arrive in Yap as early as this Saturday.

The first arrivals of athletes and teams from the other islands will be coming in on the double United Airlines flights this weekend. The meeting concluded with the Organizing Committee affirming its support on the CEO’s request with the assistance of the Food Security & Catering Committee.

For more information or clarifications, email 2018microgames@gmail.com, message @MicroGames2018 on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, or stop by the MicroGames office in the Small Business Development Center, Room 201.

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