Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM president responds to Chuuk oil spill

POHNPEI, Palikir (FSM Information Service): June 2000 - President Leo A. Falcam, yesterday, ordered several FSM departments to assist the mayor of Kuttu Municipality, Chuuk, in stopping an oil leak from a grounded cargo ship outside of Kuttu Island.

Responding to requests from Kuttu Mayor Ferdun Saladier and from FSM Congress Speaker Jack Fritz for help, President Falcam directed the director of the FSM Disaster Office and the Secretaries of the FSM departments of Transportation, Commerce, and Industry; Health, Education, and Social Affairs; Justice to take appropriate response measures to stop the leak and contain any exiting spill.

Furthermore, the President directed them to "consider what legal action might be taken against the ship's owners for any environmental damages caused by the vessel."

The Departments were told to work closely with each other and with their Chuuk State counterparts. They were also told to specifically ensure that the Chuuk State Environmental Protection Agency and other relevant agencies in Chuuk have all the assistance they require to address the problem.

The Korean shipping company cargo ship, Golden Pacific, became grounded in 1998 on the reef outside of Kuttu Island in the Mortlock Islands, Chuuk, according to a letter written by the mayor to the President.

The mayor wrote that the ship has now begun leaking oil. He added that the people on the island can smell and see the leak from the rusting ship.

The mayor also wrote that the amount of oil in the ship is unknown.

In a letter to Mayor Saladier, the president said that he was "extremely disturbed" to learn of the situation. He added that he would do "everything in his power" to ensure that the national government is responsive to the mayor's needs in solving this problem.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356