The CNMI's delegate to the United States Congress, Gregorio Sablan, has introduced a bill that would permit the overhaul and repair of U.S. naval vessels in the Northern Marianas.
Under current law, naval vessels with a homeport in the U.S. are prohibited from being overhauled, repaired, or maintained in a shipyard outside the 50 states or Guam, except for voyage repairs.
Mr Sablan's bill would amend this law to include the CNMI as a location where these military vessels can be repaired.
He says with the impending buildup of military forces in the region the Navy should have the option to repair its vessels in any U.S. jurisdiction.
Mr Sablan says while a lot of work would have to be done before any shipyard is built in the CNMI, the industry has the potential to create much needed economic activity.