Local firm to revolutionise fishing industry with construction of fishing vessel
In a bid to make a mark in the fishing industry, locally owned fishing company, Tunacor Group announced recently its intention to construct the country’s first fishing vessel, which will be the only dedicated vessel designed for fishing within Namibian waters.
Currently the fishing sector is dominated by foreign vessels and the group in a statement said it is expected that the vessel, christened “Oshiveli”, an Oshiwambo word meaning “first-born”, will bring benefits to both Tunacor and the country.
“Oshiveli” will be a polyvalent steel stern trawler which is expected to have an operational life of 40 years. It will have a gross tonnage of 1200 tons, a cargo capacity of 500 tons of fish, measuring 53 meters long and 11.5 meters wide. It is anticipated that this will be the first of many fishing vessels built by local companies in the years ahead.
“An investment of N$ 160 million will be required to construct “Oshiveli” and construction is expected to take 18 months. It will be the first dedicated vessel capable of catching three main commercial species in Namibia: hake, monk, and horse mackerel,” they added.
The Director within Tunacor Group, Peya Hitula, stated at the launch that the construction of the new vessel will benefit Namibia through improved operational capabilities, increased fuel-efficiency, and the development of a more competitive and sustainable fleet. It is anticipated that this improved fleet will be both safer for the crew and friendlier to the environment.
Hitula said, “The benefits to the Namibian economy as a result of this project include the 200 direct jobs we expect to create by building this vessel. 60 of these positions will be onboard and 140 will be land based. There will also be hundreds of jobs indirectly created in the supply, maintenance and logistic chains.”
Meanwhile, since Namibia does not yet have a local ship building facility and yard, the hull construction has been allocated to an international shipyard famous for building quality fishing vessels, according to the group.
“It will be constructed by Armon Shipyards SA (Spain), following a design developed by Tunacor’s Technical Department. Construction will be supervised by the Directorate of Maritime and Affairs, while quality control will be overseen by Lloyds Register, one of the most respected marine surveyors and classification societies in the world.,” they added.
Namibian companies and workers are expected to benefit through skills transfer in the short term and ongoing maintenance work which will be completed locally throughout the life of the vessel.
Also, speaking at the launch, Hon. Bernard Esau, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, highlighted the fact that building fishing vessels within Namibia will translate into future economic opportunities.
“It will assist in increasing the country’s pace of industrialization and economic diversification, affording greater opportunity to achieve the national goals as outlined in the Harambee Prosperity Plan,” he said.
“More skilled people within the marine sector will be able to manufacture and service our equipment, without the need for recourse to imported labor,” he added.
Honorable Esau went on to say that private and public entities must diversify the sector through value addition and innovation, encouraging self-reliance and sustainability.
Tunacor’s workforce in 2006 stood at 450 employees and it has risen to 1,400 within the Group and is expected to grow further to 1,600 employees following the launch of “Oshiveli” into the water.