Debmarine Namibia’s year-long aspiration to build a new sampling and exploration vessel was realised in Windhoek this week when two local financial institutions, Standard Bank Namibia and RMB Namibia, came on board to provide the majority of financing for the massive undertaking. The new vessel constitutes an investment of N$2.3 billion, of which Debmarine Namibia will cover 25 percent while the balance, approximately N$1.8 billion, will be co-financed by Standard Bank Namibia and Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) Namibia.
RMB is the investment arm of FirstRand Bank Limited.
“Mining is done remotely using our unique in-house developed technology. Therefore, Debmarine Namibia invests significantly in sampling and exploration work to ensure effective resource delivery in the short-, medium- and long-term,” said Otto Shikongo, Chief Executive Officer of Debmarine Namibia.
Mining diamonds from the bottom of the ocean, Debmarine Namibia currently owns and operates five diamond mining vessels, namely the Debmar Atlantic, the Debmar Pacific, the !Gariep, the Grand Banks and the largest vessel in the fleet, the Mafuta. Debmarine Namibia, which has been in operation since 2001, has increased its production from 600 000 carats per annum in 2002 to the current capacity of 1.2 million carats, making it Namibia’s largest diamond miner by carat volume and value.
The new vessel, which will be named after Founding Father, Dr Sam Shafishuna Nujoma and will be known as the SS Nujoma, will become the sixth member of the Debmarine Namibia fleet to be registered at the Port of Luderitz. The 113 metre-long vessel, which is scheduled for delivery in July 2017, has a total displacement of 12 000 tonnes. The vessel will be constructed in Norway by Kleven Verft AS, a world leading ship-building group.
According to Shikongo, the vessel will be custom built for Debmarine Namibia’s diamond sampling and exploration purposes and will be the first of its kind. “Like all other Debmarine Namibia vessels, the new exploration vessel will be expected to remain at sea for sampling and exploration for three years before it returns to port for maintenance, as per ship classification requirements,” noted Shikongo.
Meanwhile, Standard Bank Namibia’s Chief Executive, Vetumbuavi Mungunda, remarked that SS Nujoma is a fitting name for the state-of-the-art vessel named after the Founding Father. “As one of the most significant investments taking place in our country, I strongly believe that this latest addition to the Debmarine Namibia fleet will help expand deep sea diamond exploration and sampling as well as taking offshore mining to greater heights and ultimately contributing to our country’s core economic growth,” remarked Mungunda.