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De Beers’ new marine diamond mining vessel expected in 2022

The largest and most technologically advanced marine diamond mining vessel is expected to be delivered to Namibian Marine Diamond Miner Debmarine Namibia in 2022 – a joint venture between the Namibian Government and the De Beers Group.

The ship under construction will be fitted with an integrated power system kit supplied by ABB electronics, automation and robotics company.

According to ABB, it ensures that its systems meet the exceptional health, efficiency and availability requirements of an advanced diamond recovery vessel built by Damen Shipyards Mangalia in the Black Sea of Romania.

ABB also points out that, at a total cost of $468-million, the vessel is the largest single investment ever made in the marine diamond industry.

The new vessel will use an underwater crawling system to scour the seabed for diamonds.

Namibia has the richest known marine diamond deposits in the world, with Debmarine Namibia extracting some of the highest quality diamonds available anywhere from the water of between 90 m and 150 m deep off the southwest coast of the country.

The new 177-m-long ship has been designed by Norway-based naval architects Marin Teknikk. It will become the largest ship in the owner’s fleet, exceeding the size of Debmarine Namibia’s current largest vessel, the Mafuta, by 8 000 t displacement.

It is expected to increase the ship owner’s yearly production by 35%, contributing an additional 500 000 ct to current production levels.

Debmarine Namibia has previously installed ABB’s power systems onboard the SS Nujoma (SSN) – a deep-water diamond exploration and sampling vessel.

Debmarine Namibia newbuild project leader Michael Curtis says the success of the SSN, with high reliability, efficient positioning and low fuel consumption, coupled with safe operation, was instrumental in selecting the same systems for the new diamond recovery vessel, with ABB’s power systems being an integral part of the solution.

ABB notes that its latest technology will ensure the vessel achieves unsurpassed uptime.

In addition to the advanced system for power generation, distribution and variable-speed-drive propulsion systems, the solution includes a large online double-conversion marine uninterruptible power supply (MUPS) to support the ship’s vital control processes, significantly reducing the risk of critical power loss and downtime.

ABB’s MUPS is designed for undisrupted availability, ensuring power backup for the vessel’s onboard control systems of the subsea crawler and processing plant that sorts through sediment lifted from the seabed to extract diamonds.

ABB’s advanced and tightly integrated power system will help enhance engine loading, as well as reduce running hours and fuel costs, and decrease maintenance needs.

ABB Marine & Ports MD Juha Koskela says the new vessel is a truly special ship, packed with sophisticated technology and a project demanding an especially close relationship with the customer to ensure that optimal solutions were delivered for exact specifications.

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