Debmarine Namibia says its dream of building a diamond exploration and sampling vessel is being realised in Ulsteinvik, Norway as on Saturday, January 9, the company achieved a significant milestone when the mv SS Nujoma was launched from the slipway in the Kleven Verft AS shipyard.
The construction of the new N$2.3 billion Debmarine Namibia diamond exploration and sampling vessel commenced in April 2015. The 113 metre-long diamond exploration and sampling vessel, a first-of-its-kind in Namibia, will enhance the marine diamond sampling and exploration efficiencies in Namibia, with the aim of increasing production levels. Debmarine Namibia produced 1 270 carats in 2015, close to the previous record of 1 273 carats produced in 2014, accounting for approximately 70 percent of total diamond production in Namibia.
Debmarine Namibia chief executive officer Otto Shikongo first announced the company’s aspirations of building the state-of-the art diamond sampling and exploration vessel in 2014. Since then Debmarine Namibia secured co-funding from two local commercial banks in 2015, whereby Debmarine Namibia covered 25 percent of the total project cost and the balance was loaned by Standard Bank Namibia and RMB Namibia, a division of the First National Bank of Namibia – in the company’s biggest transactional deal of 2015.
In mariner’s tradition, the launch of a vessel takes place when the vessel is transferred into the water for the first time. This is a key moment in the life of the vessel for the owner and shipbuilders and is considered to be the vessel’s birth. After launching the vessel will be outfitted in Norway in preparation for sea trials in June 2016.
After delivery the vessel will be steamed to Cape Town, where the sampling tool and treatment plant are being built simultaneously by De Beers Marine South Africa. Following installation of the sampling equipment on the vessel in Cape Town, the vessel is expected to be commissioned in Namibian coastal waters during the first half of 2017.