Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

$5-M ship repair plant to rise in Subic; US Navy dry-dock returns


SUBIC BAY FREEPORT -­ The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has inked a contract with a subsidiary of an American maritime firm for the construction of a US$5-million ship repair facilities here, bringing back the former US naval base’s dry-dock which could employ some 200 skilled workers.

SBMA Chairman Feliciano Salonga and Administrator Armand Arreza signed the contract with Subic Drydock Corp. (SDC) president and chief executive officer Catalino Bondoc for the construction of the ship repair facilities along Bravo Wharf inside the Riviera Pier.

"The return of the floating dry-dock would mean job opportunities for people in the nearby area, especially those who were trained and used to be employed with the Ship Repair Facility (SRF) at the US Naval Base," Arreza said.

"We would like to reiterate our support to our investors and the SBMA is warmly welcoming you as our partner towards progress," Salonga said.

The AFDM-5 dry-dock used to handle the repairs of the US Navy ships that were docked in Subic. After the Philippines Senate rejected the extension of the Philippines-US military bases agreement in the 80s, the drydock was towed to Guam and later to Japan.

It eventually returned to Guam and was later purchased by Malayan Towage and Salvage Group. The dry-dock is currently docked in Manila.

"It’s like bringing back something that meant a lot to the former base workers. The AFDM-5 will surely open a lot of opportunities to the Freeport," former SBMA chairman Felicito Payumo said.

According to Bondoc, the group is bent on initially employing 200 skilled and semi-skilled workers; mostly people who used to be stationed in the SRF area for their familiarity on the dock and at the same time train and apprentice new individuals.

"We are looking at initially hiring 200 workers if the deal pushes through. These will be made up of former SRF workers who are highly skilled and familiar with the AFDM-5. At the same time, they will be able to train new workers," he said.

Bondoc also said that after the initial talks with the SBMA, they are now preparing a business plan which will be presented to the SBMA board for approval for the company’s immediate start of operations


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