Saturday, September 15, 2012


     Jakarta, Sept 15, 2012 (ANTARA) - In the evening of September 15, at least 2012 lobsters were grilled and served to participants and guests of Sail Morotai or Sail Indonesia 2012 in Morotai Island District, North Maluku Province.
      By organizing the gala dinner, North Maluku wanted to show off its maritime and fishery potential to foreign and national guests.
      The grilled lobsters provided by local fishermen who fully supported the implementation of Sail Morotai, were served free of charge to those crew members of sailing yachts, businessmen, war veterans, tourists and guests.
      The Morotai authorities hoped the grilled lobsters will attract investors in the aquaculture business in the province.
     The waters off Morotai Island are home to some 191 species of fish, with a production capacity of 148,473.8 tonnes annually. However, only less than 50 percent of the potential has been exploited.

Another Morotai`s potential is in the tourism sector. Being situated in the Pacific Ocean, Morotai Island`s natural beauty is a wonderful attraction for tourists.

Morotai is also a unique tourist destination thanks to remnants of World War II that exist on the island, which was used as a military base by Allied forces in their battle against the Japanese during the war in 1940s.

The North Maluku provincial administration has built a World War II Museum in Morotai, which was inaugurated by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during the Sail Morotai peak event on Saturday (Sept 15).

Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Agung Laksono said that Sail Morotai has the momentum to revive the glory of Indonesia as a maritime nation.

The international maritime event is also expected to help speed up economic development in North Maluku, particularly in the tourism and fisheries sectors.

"Morotai is located in a very strategic area, because it is in East Asia and the Pacific route. Therefore, the central government will make Morotai a special economic area by establishing cooperation with neighboring countries. It will further develop maritime and air transportation services," the minister said.

When speaking at the opening of Sail Morotai on Morotai Island, President Yudhoyono said Sail Morotai festival was expected to help boost economic growth in North Maluku while assisting in the momentum of the Asia and Pacific Cooperation.

"In several years to come, we hope to become an economic growth region for fisheries, tourism and transportation services," the president said.

The Asia and Pacific region has been developing very quickly in recent years, and Indonesia, particularly North Maluku Province, should benefit from it, he stated.

For that purpose, the central government has designated Morotai Island, North Maluku, as a special economic area which is expected to become a business hub in the Asia and Pacific region.

"The government of Indonesia has designated Morotai and its surroundings to become a special economic area," the president stated.

Morotai will join Bitung (North Sulawesi) and Biak (West Papua) as the `front yard` of Indonesia in the Pacific ocean.

The centre of the geo-economic and political conditions has shifted from the Atlantic region to the Pacific region, making the role of the Asia and Pacific nations more important and strategic.

The president hoped that Indonesia, located in the Asia and Pacific region, would endure and become a mainstay of the global economy.

"We will carry out development by using a principle of win-win cooperation and promoting dialogs," the President said.

Earlier, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Minister Sharif Cicip Sutardjo said there are many benefits if an area is given the special economic zone status.

The area will have special rights, such as being allowed to have direct exports, he said.

North Maluku Governor Thaib Armaiyn said Morotai will build a number of infrastructure and facilities as part of its preparations to become an economic hub in the Asia and Pacific region.

As the industrial hub of North Maluku, Morotai will improve its infrastructure in the fields of tourism, agriculture, plantations and fisheries, he added.

Also, Morotai Island District will construct the largest container harbor in Indonesia`s eastern region and Leo Wattimena airport will be renovated to become a national-standard airport.

The island is strategically located in the Pacific ocean and close to the Philippines and other Pacific countries. It is also a major shipping line route in the Pacific.

Financial supports have been promised by Syahrin Abdurrahman, the maritime affairs and fisheries ministry`s director general of maritime and fishery resources.

He said his office has set aside a budget of Rp200 billion for the development of infrastructure in Morotai, such as roads, water installation and power facility.

No doubt, the fisheries sector in North Maluku has the potential to contribute foreign exchange worth trillions of rupiahs to the nation if it is well managed.

"Such maritime potential is expected to attract investors from Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan. In fact, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on investment in the fisheries sector was signed by a Taiwanese company and a local partner called Jababeka," Minister Agung Laksono said earlier.

Indeed, Taiwan has been interested in Morotai`s natural resources proven by a cooperation plan between Indonesia and Taiwan in developing the fishery sector in the Morotai area.

A press release from Taiwan`s Economic and Trade Office (TETO) in Jakarta on Friday (Sept 14) stated the cooperation was marked with the signing of the Letter of Intent (LoI) between Chairman of Taiwan`s Economic and Trade Office (TETO) in Jakarta, Andrew Hsia and Chairman of Indonesia`s Economic and Trade Office in Taipei (IETO), Ahmad Syafri last Thursday (Sept 13).

The co-operation between Indonesia and Taiwan is expected to help develop the fishery potential in Morotai and develop the area as a logistic hub in East Indonesia.

For a program to improve the standard of living of the Morotai people, Morotai received assistance from several ministries such as the social affairs ministry during the Sail Morotai event.

Social Affairs Minister Salim Segaf Aljufri presented assistance worth Rp6 billion and also gave Rp1,3 billion to purchase a speedboat.

Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Agung Laksono and Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro also provided aid for the island.

Minister Laksono handed Rp4 billion in aid to Morotai District Head Rusli Sibua for construction of 145 houses for people living in isolated areas. Further, Minister Yusgiantoro provided Rp500 million for rehabilitation of 50 houses owned by poor residents.

The Sail Morotai event this year is a blessing for North Maluku and put spotlight on the economic potential of Morotai Island, which was hardly known before. ***2***


(T.F001/A/F001/B003) 15-09-2012 22:16:28

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