To celebrate the successful conclusion of the Palau-Japan Goodwill Yacht Race, an awarding ceremony was held at Marine Café Vita on Wednesday January 15th. The ceremony drew a large crowd ranging from high-ranking government officials, the committee from Japan who helped conduct the yacht race, the participants, researchers who were on board the Miraie vessel, and spectators from Palau as well as Japan.

In the opening remarks, chairman of the Yacht Race Kohta Fujiki mentioned that crew members of the yachts went through their own individual struggle from Japan to Palau. He added that he constantly checked his email to find out the statuses of the yacht and ensure their safety to the finish line.

Additionally, through the orders of President Tommy E. Remengesau, officers also provided assistance to the participants of the yacht race. In the end all the yachts came to Palau safely and Chairman Fujiki stated that “I feel that this yacht race accomplished more goodwill for Japan and Palau.”

Upon the distribution of the awards, all the yachts were given a certificate of completion. Moreover, in accordance to a specific format called the PXRF handicap system the winners are listed as follows: 3rd place Team Trekki, 2nd place Team Altair 3, and 1st place Team Thetis. When they were given their awards, each team showed their appreciation and gave thanks in their speeches.

Other awards included the “First Home” Award which was given to Altair 3. Team Trekki was also awarded for their contribution to the MIRAIE micro plastic research and were deemed Guardians of the Ocean Environment by JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology).

While Palau walked away with “Best Role Call” Award for the consistent role calls to the committee as well as the government of Palau for some of the difficulties that they faced during the race and the award is also to recognize Team Palau’s efforts in making it to the finish line despite many problems that came their way.

Ediloi Seklii represented her team by saying that they did face a lot of problems while on board, but in the end they made it safe. She expressed her gratitude to the organizing committee for their hard work in assisting them and extended her thanks to everyone present during the awarding ceremony.

Certificate of appreciations were given to the officers and government sectors for their aide in the yacht race. During his open remark speech, Chairman Fujiki said that “Even though it’s one piece of paper, a lot of thoughts of appreciation were put into this” Also, the youth who boarded the MIRAIE vessel were recognized and given gifts for their participation in ocean research with JAMSTEC.

Overall, all of the parties that were involved with the organization of this yacht race thought that it was a huge success. In his speech President Tommy Remengesau showed his appreciation to those involved with making the event a success and added that this event truly showcased the friendship between both countries.

Towards the end of his speech he said that “the most important lesson to take from this is that the ocean does not separate us, but connects us together. We can always do things that bring us together as good friends.” (Telbakes Yano)