Debmarine Namibia is building a N$2.3 billion (US$140 million) deepwater diamond exploration and sampling vessel – called the mining vessel (mv) SS Nujoma.
The vessel is being constructed in Norway by the Kleven Verft shipbuilding group and is named after Namibia’s founding president, Dr Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma.
The most technologically advanced marine diamond sampling and exploration vessel in the world, it was launched ahead of schedule on 9 January 2016.
The vessel has now been fitted out and undergone sea trials. Commissioning is scheduled to take place in Namibian waters in the first half of 2017.
The diesel-electric powered vessel, 113 metres long and 22 metres wide, has a displacement of 12,000 tonnes and will accommodate a crew of 80. It has a helicopter deck suitable for Sikorsky S61s.
The mv SS Nujoma will remain on exploration operations for three years before returning to port for maintenance. The sixth in the Debmarine Namibia fleet, it will be registered at the Port of Lȕderitz.
Funding for the project is from two local banks, Standard Bank Namibia and RMB Namibia, a division of the First National Bank of Namibia. The banks will cover 75 per cent of the project cost.
Debmarine Namibia is a joint venture marine diamond prospecting and mining company, established in January 2002 by De Beers and the Government of the Republic of Namibia. Its other vessels are: Debmar Atlantic, Debmar Pacific, !Gariep, Grand Banks and Mafuta. They mine in the offshore mining licence area off the southern coast of Namibia at water depths of up to 140 metres.