The new N$2.3 billion Debmarine Namibia diamond exploration and sampling vessel, the mv SS Nujoma, left the Port of Cape Town on Tuesday to start a two-week period of sea trials.
The mv SS Nujoma has been in the Port of Cape Town since arriving from Norway on August 20, where it was being outfitted with the sampling system.
This vessel will ensure sustainable diamond production levels long into the future and has created 140 new direct jobs for Namibians who will operate the vessel.
The sampling system was built in large modules with a combined mass of 2200 tonnes, in parallel to the vessel construction in Norway.
These modules were lifted onto the vessel using the second biggest super-lift crane in Southern Africa, with the heaviest module weighing over 220 tonnes. The project is well ahead of schedule.
The two weeks of sea trials will test vessel performance with the new sampling system before it returns to the Port of Cape Town for final completion works.
The mv SS Nujoma is scheduled to start commissioning in Namibian waters in December 2016.
Debmarine Namibia CEO Mr Otto Shikongo remarked that: “The mv SS Nujoma, makes Debmarine Namibia operations independent, as it is the first sampling vessel owned by the company. Debmarine Namibia has been chartering sampling services from De Beers Marine South Africa and a Namibian service provider.”
De Beers Marine project head Michael Curtis said: “This unique and technically challenging global project has been successful thus far in exceeding its objectives. The project team understands how important the project is to our client, Debmarine Namibia, and has been committed from the approval of the project in April 2015 to fast track the delivery.
“The project was able to maintain the momentum of the early completion of the vessel and the mission equipment modules, through the integration phase, placing the team in a satisfying position to deliver project early. The close working relation between the project team and the client has ensured the success of the project to date.”
The mv SS Nujoma is the sixth vessel in Debmarine Namibia’s fleet. Debmarine Namibia currently owns, manages and maintains five diamond mining vessels, operating in Namibia’s Atlantic 1 mining licence area namely, mv Mafuta, mv Grand Banks, mv Debmar Pacific, mv Debmar Atlantic and mv !Gariep.
The company is the largest miner of diamonds in Namibia contributing approximately 70% of the total Namibian diamond production and is the largest single contributor, as an entity, to the national treasury.