Following the official handover held on the 18th and 19th of August at Damen Shipyards Mangalia, Debmarine Namibia’s new diamond recovery vessel, departed on a four-week long maiden voyage to the Port of Cape Town, South Africa, where it will be fitted with mission equipment before beginning operations off the coast of Namibia early next year.
The successful delivery marks the end of a landmark project that began over two years ago. It is the first vessel to be delivered by Damen Shipyards Mangalia, the Romanian yard that joined the Damen group in 2018, to take on large and complex, engineered to order projects under the banner of the Mid-Sized Vessels division.
Debmarine Namibia is a subsidiary of the well-known diamond mining and jewellery company De Beers, owned in equal shares with the Government of the Republic of Namibia The Additional Mining Vessel (AMV#3) as it is technically known, will use sub-sea crawling extraction techniques to retrieve diamonds from the seabed off the coast of Namibia. These will then be processed on board. 177 metres in length, it is now the largest diamond recovery vessel in the world and the new flagship of the Debmarine Namibia fleet. The vessel is expected to operate for at least 30 years.
The build involved many challenges, ranging from the onset of COVID-19 early in the project to the management of many subcontractors, each contributing their specialist skills and products. Engineering challenges included the installation of a DP2 dynamic positioning system based on a seven-thruster propulsion system powered by six generators, to enable greater flexibility in the vessel’s operations. Project management was undertaken by De Beers Marine South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
With the constraints of COVID-19 Damen also undertook the complete commissioning process, implementing incremental ways of working to ensure that it was all completed on time.
“Today marks a significant milestone in the Debmarine Namibia calendar and our country Namibia, as we witness the completion of the vessel, a significant phase that represents the largest ever single investment in the history of marine diamond recovery. We keenly await the arrive of this asset to join the rest of the fleet to recover marine diamonds safely and sustainably, whilst building a lasting positive legacy for Namibia.” said Willy Mertens, Chief Financial Officer of Debmarine Namibia during the delivery ceremony.