With the 2018 MicroGames in Yap to begin little more than a week away, a key logistical question remains. Will Philippine authorities allow the cruise liner Forever Lucky to leave the Bataan port where it has been impounded, to start the voyage to Micronesia?
Last week Philippine authorities impounded the ship and removed 139 workers aboard who had been contracted to cook lechon and perform other services in support of the games. Authorities described the workers as ‘victims of human trafficking’ and demanded various required documents and awaited the results of the investigation.
Meanwhile, word of the ship’s seizure prompted frantic efforts in Yap to assure the ship would arrive in time to provide the promised accommodations.
As of Saturday, the games organizing committee reported that Fahrenheit had assured them that the ship would reach Yap on the agreed deadline of July 11.
According to a committee news release, “[I]t was shared that one of the issues faced now in the Philippines with the ship owners was no longer the transport of the 139 workers on the ship—which was not permitted by Philippine authorities—but the seaworthiness of the vessel to transport that many persons aboard. Fahrenheit Company Limited has informed Yap State that it is exploring options to fly in the workers in a charter flight to Yap directly from the Philippines, leaving only the crew to man Forever Lucky to Yap after the successful issuance of a special permit. The workers will then rendezvous with the ship in Yap.”
Various efforts by Yap and the FSM were underway to get the ship released by the Philippines, but so far, there’s no word as to if or when, the Forever Lucky will sail.