Debmarine’s new Namibian $ 7 billion ship on its way to Africa
Debmarine Namibia’s new Namibian $ 7 billion diamond recovery vessel departed this week on its month-long maiden voyage to the port of Cape Town, South Africa, where it will be fitted with mission equipment before to begin operations off the coast of Namibia early next year.
The vessel departed following the official handover held on August 18-19 at Damen Shipyards in Mangalia, Romania.
According to a statement from Debmarine Namibia, the successful delivery marks the end of a historic project that began over two years ago.
“This is the first vessel to be delivered by Damen Shipyards Mangalia, the Romanian shipyard which joined the Damen group in 2018, to take charge of large and complex projects, designed to order under the banner of the Mid-Sized Vessels division. “, we read in the press release. declaration.
Debmarine Namibia is a subsidiary of the diamond mining and jewelry company De Beers and is owned equally with the Namibian government.
The Additional Mining Vessel (AMV # 3), as it is technically known, will use underwater exploration mining techniques to recover diamonds from the seabed off the coast of Namibia. These will then be processed on board. At 177 meters in length, it is now the largest diamond recovery vessel in the world and the new flagship of the Debmarine Namibia fleet. The ship is expected to operate for at least 30 years.
The media statement continued that the construction involved many challenges, ranging from the start of Covid-19 at the start of the project to managing many subcontractors, each bringing their specialized skills and products. Technical challenges included installing a DP2 dynamic positioning system based on a seven thruster propulsion system powered by six generators, to allow greater flexibility in vessel operations. Project management was provided by De Beers Marine South Africa.
With the constraints of Covid-19, Damen also undertook the full commissioning process, implementing incremental working methods to ensure the massive project was completed on time.
“Today marks an important milestone in the calendar for Debmarine Namibia and our country, Namibia, as we witness the completion of the vessel, an important phase which represents the largest investment ever in the history of the recovery of marine diamonds. We look forward to the arrival of this asset to join the rest of the fleet to recover marine diamonds in a safe and sustainable manner, while creating a lasting positive legacy for Namibia ”, said Willy Mertens, Chief Financial Officer of Debmarine Namibia, during the delivery ceremony.
The additional mining vessel No.3 (AMV3) will use state-of-the-art technology to optimize the recovery of diamonds from the ocean floor. This is the seventh vessel in Debmarine Namibia’s fleet and her recovery equipment was being built alongside the construction of the vessel.
The diamond recovery vessel is expected to provide around N $ 2 billion in taxes and fees per year, in addition to more than 160 jobs.
AMV3 financing was obtained through co-financing from five banks, namely Nedbank, RMB, Standard Bank, Bank Windhoek and ABSA, Debmarine Namibia covering 25% of the total cost of the project. This translated into N $ 5.6 billion provided by the banks, accounting for 80% of the cost of the ship and Debmarine Namibia funding the remaining N $ 1.4 billion.
Upon commencement of commercial operations, the AMV3 is expected to increase production by approximately 500,000 carats, which will increase Debmarine Namibia’s annual production by 35%.
“Some of the highest quality diamonds in the world are found in the sea off the Namibian coast. With this investment, we will be able to optimize new technologies to find and recover diamonds more efficiently and meet the demands of consumers around the world, ”said Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group, in a recent interview.
Construction of the new vessel and steel cutting began in Romania in May 2019 with the massive investment seen as a sign of confidence in the sparkling diamond industry.