Multi-million Debmarine vessel in pipeline
Stella Auala, Debmarine Namibia Communications Manager told the Economist that the contract value of the vessel will be divided into two phases.
“The contract value of the first approved phase is N$114 million and will be financed by Debmarine Namibia. Phase two will be the construction phase, subject to final approval by the Debmarine Namibia Board in early 2015,” said Auala.
“Financing of this phase will be through a combination of Debmarine Namibia and leading Namibian commercial banks. The exploration vessel will be built at Kleven Verft in Ulsteinvik, Norway, and is scheduled for delivery in June 2016,” added Auala.
The 113 meter-long diamond exploration vessel with a total displacement of 12 000 tonnes, is expected to accommodate up to 80 crew members at any given time. The design of the new vessel is well proven within the offshore construction segment and the custom-built Debmarine Namibia vessel will be the first-of-its-kind and will include a wide range of tailor made equipment and features.
“This unique exploration vessel will be the first-of-its-kind and will be of MT 6022-design from Marin Teknikk, an independent ship design and engineering company. The MT designs are well known for their high safety level standards and environmentally friendly solutions,” said Auala.
“She will be diesel electric powered and like all other Debmarine Namibia vessels will be expected to remain in exploration operation for three years between each time it returns to port for maintenance, as per ship classification requirements.
The new exploration vessel will become the sixth member of the Debmarine Namibia fleet to be registered at the Port of Lúderitz,”she added.
Currently Debmarine Namibia operates five diamond mining vessels, namely Debmar Atlantic, Debmar Pacific, !Gariep, Grand Banks and Mafuta. Two mining technologies are deployed, the airlift-drill and the crawler mining technology. The mining vessels mine diamonds off the ocean floor using highly advanced drill technology and supported with sophisticated tracking, positioning and surveying equipment. Debmarine Namibia currently charters the mv Coral Sea and mv The Explorer for sampling and exploration.
Upon entering the deal Chief Executive Officer of Debmarine Namibia, Otto Shikongo said, “We are pleased to be moving Namibia forward in the field of underwater mineral exploration, by investing in the long-term future of diamond marine production and hence in the contribution to our shareholders and the local economy.
This project shows confidence, by the JV partners, the Government of the Republic of Namibia and De Beers, in Debmarine Namibia as it is indeed a significant investment into the future of Debmarine Namibia. This new exploration vessel will significantly increase our Resource Development capacity to sustain the increased diamond production growth we have witnessed recently and to enable our future diamond production growth aspirations,” he added.
While the Chief Executive Officer of Kleven, Ståle Rasmussen said,“Underwater mineral exploration is a new segment for Kleven, and we look forward to working closely with Debmarine Namibia on the realisation of this highly advanced vessel. We have had a strong cooperation with Marin Teknikk for many years, developing a number of prototypes together, and our offshore experience and expertise combined with De Beers’ competence and innovative strategy on this field has led to the development of this unique vessel.”