Areas on Rota proposed for new and continuing military training consist of the airport and a small area within West Harbor. The island of Rota is the northern most island of the Bonninia, some 900 miles from Eniwetok and about halfway between Tinian and Guam.
Rota's airfield has a single 6,000-foot runway and is also equipped with navigational aids. Plans are now being prepared to lengthen the runway to no less than 8,000 feet with parallel taxiway to address the need of continued economic growth of Rota and Tinian. Rota has two harbors. The West Harbor is the most modern port facility in the Commonwealth. It has an 800-foot channel leading to a turning basin and wharf.
Rota was occupied by Japanese forces during World War II. During World War II the island of Rota was a very important Japanese link for their air supply to the south from Japan. There was a single air strip on the highest elevation of the island.
Unexploded ordnance [UXO] has been known to exist in the waters off Rota and other islands in the Mariana archipelago. Acting on the complaint of a Japanese tourist who raised concerns after seeing what appeared to be UXO near the wreck ofa Japanese submarine chaser in the famous Coral Gardens area off the southeastern coast of Sasanhaya Bay, the CNMI Emergency Management Office asked the Explosive Ordnance Detachment ofthe U.S. Navy for its recommendations. In 1996 the US Navy blasted the Coral Gardens of Rota -- an action that, according to a study done for the government of the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas, resulted in $82 million worth of damage to the reef. After the Navy's blast, more UXO was foundin the area. The CNMI government hired a private company, Bombs Away, to remove the ordnance, which it accomplished with no damage to the reef.
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