Cruising around the Marshall Islands
After almost four decades under US administration as the easternmost part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Marshall Islands attained independence in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association. Compensation claims continue as a result of US nuclear testing on some of the atolls between 1947 and 1962. The Marshall Islands hosts the US Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) Reagan Missile Test Site, a key installation in the US missile defense network.
Location: Oceania, two archipelagic island chains of 29 atolls, each
made up of many small islets, and five single islands in the North Pacific
Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Australia
Territorial sea: 12 nm
Tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November; islands border typhoon belt
Low coral limestone and sand islands
Lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
US Government assistance is the mainstay of this tiny island economy. Agricultural production, primarily subsistence, is concentrated on small farms; the most important commercial crops are coconuts and breadfruit. Small-scale industry is limited to handicrafts, tuna processing, and copra.
The tourist industry, now a small source of foreign exchange employing less than 10% of the labor force, remains the best hope for future added income. The islands have few natural resources, and imports far exceed exports. Under the terms of the Amended Compact of Free Association, the US will provide millions of dollars per year to the Marshall Islands (RMI) through 2023, at which time a Trust Fund made up of US and RMI contributions will begin perpetual annual payouts.
Government downsizing, drought, a drop in construction, the decline in tourism and foreign investment due to the Asian financial difficulties, and less income from the renewal of fishing vessel licenses have held GDP growth to an average of 1% over the past decade.
Airports: 15 (2005)
Total: 706 ships (1000 GRT or over) 28,268,511 GRT/47,217,632 DWT
Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals
Other Sailing Destinations in the Region
American Samoa - Australia - Cook Island - Easter Islands (Chile) - Federation of Micronesia - Fiji - Guam - USA (Hawaii) - Kiribati - Marshall Islands - Nauru - New Caledonia - New Zealand - Niue - Norfolk Island - Northern Mariana Islands - Palau - Papua New Guinea - Pitcairn Island - Samoa - Solomon Island - Tokelau - Tonga - Tuvalu - Vanuatu - Wallis and Futuna