Eveline de Klerk
Walvis Bay-Debmarine Namibia has once again reaffirm its position in the global diamond exploration industry by commissioning the world’s most advanced diamond exploration vessel, the SS Nujoma, at the port of Walvis Bay.
The SS Nujoma is named after the founding president Sam Nujoma and was built at a cost of N$2.3 billion. It is the fifth edition to the company’s fleet, but the first that will be dedicated to exploration and sampling, as it incorporates advanced technologies that allow it to sample and collect faster than any other vessel.
“I accept this honour and reiterate my commitment to ensure that our mineral resources are used for the benefit of all our people and the safeguarding and preservation of our marine resources,” Nujoma said at the official christening ceremony in Walvis Bay on Thursday.
The flagship vessel, that was financed by Standard Bank and RMB Bank, is the largest-ever capital investment in underwater diamond mining and is expected to ensure a longterm sustainable future for offshore diamond mining in Namibia.
The vessel weighs 12,000 tonnes, is 113 metres long and can accommodate 80 crew members. It was constructed in Ulsteinvik, Norway and fitted with its subsea sampling system designed by the De Beers Group in Cape Town.
The diesel-electric powered vessel will sustain 140 new jobs. Currently 85 percent of Debmarines employees are Namibians.
The SS Nujoma will also enable Debmarine Namibia – a joint venture between the government and the De Beers Group – to further explore potential diamond deposits and secure diamond supply in the country .
Nujoma encouraged the management and directors of Debmarine Namibia to always take corporate social responsibility seriously by assisting the youth, schools and hospitals and thus play a pivotal role to combat unemployment and contribute to economic growth.
Also at the ceremony, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila applauded Debmarine, saying Namibia needs innovation to tackle various challenges in public sector service delivery and efficiency to increase productivity and employment in all sectors of the economy.