4 Jul 2005

Marshall Islands hoping Taiwanese company considers alternative sites

7:22 pm on 4 July 2005

The Marshall Islands will find out early this week if a Taiwanese company will look at alternative sites for a planned multi-million dollar dry dock facility.

The country's Environmental Protection Authority turned down a proposal from Ching Fu Shipbuilding to establish the facility in the urban centre of Majuro over concerns it was an inappropriate location.

Supporters of the development say it would generate more than 11 million U.S. dollars in revenues annually and many jobs but there were concerns voiced that it would damage tourist development in Majuro.

Our correspondent, Giff Johnson, says it is now hoped that the company will look at other sites.

"Any other site, obviously, is going to involve some infrastructure development but the government is saying that it's keen to support the dry dock, and work with the company to develop whatever infrastructure is necessary."

Giff Johnson says the company is expected to announce its response to the EPA ruling early this week.