The Government of Japan and the FSM Government recently held a signing ceremony at the FSM Department of Foreign Affairs for the Exchange of Notes for the Project for Improvement of Domestic Shipping Services in the FSM. This project in the amount of one billion one hundred ten million Japanese Yen (equivalent to 11.65 million USD) will be utilized to build a new vessel that will assist the current operating Caroline Voyager with its duties, which was also donated to the FSM by the Japan Government. This project also includes the provision of spare parts for Caroline Voyager to further prolong her life.

The Caroline Voyager will have reached its 16th year of service to the FSM this year since its acquirement in 1997. It goes without saying that it is getting old and with the increase in demand for its services in the FSM, the procurement of a new vessel comes at an excellent time. The new vessel is structured to carry more passengers to address the increase of passengers that travel to and from the islands.

The Government of Japan is confident that another vessel will be of great assistance to the peoples of the FSM both socially, economically and to provide a means of easily commuting between their home islands and the main islands. Coconut products, daily basic needs, and medical supplies are commodities that are transported between the islands. There are occasions that the government or other organizations send medical authorities or volunteers to administer immunization programs, educational events, and other social gatherings.

Ambassador Suzuki mentioned in his speech that he is delighted that Japan government has again been given this opportunity to continue to strengthen the bonds of friendship with the FSM and applied the affecting words of the FSM Constitution which states that “The seas bring us together, they do not separate us.”

On the receiving end, FSM Foreign Affairs Secretary Lorin Robert remarked that every signing ceremony is always like the first for the FSM Government which conveys the FSM’s gratitude for such signs of great friendship between the two countries since the first Japanese pioneers who first landed on the FSM islands and “set the stage which is the very foundation of this ceremony. He also commented that the FSM and Japan being Pacific island nations, it is only appropriate that the project being signed over in this ceremony is for a vessel.

To conclude the ceremony, Secretary Francis Itimai of the FSM Department of Transportation and Infrastructure made a toast with remarks stating that this project will be treated as a precious gift which signifies the great bonds of friendship between FSM and Japan.

The Exchange of Notes took place with FSM Government represented by Foreign Affairs Secretary Lorin Robert and Japan Ambassador to the FSM Eiichi Suzuki for Government of Japan. JICA-FSM being the organization that will oversee the implementation of the Project, was represented by Mr. Kaoru Iwasaki, Resident Representative of JICA to the FSM, signed the Grant Agreement with Secretary Robert. The conspicuous event was witnessed by FSM high officials and staff of the Embassy of Japan.  

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