Former President Sam Nujoma was all smiles last week Thursday during the inauguration and naming ceremony of the sampling and exploration vessel, mv SS Nujoma at Walvis Bay.
Nujoma, who was in high spirits, climbed the stairs to the ship’s control room where the captain, Thomas Kosmas, showed him how the vessel functions.
Following the official inauguration last week, Debmarine Namibia said the world’s largest and most advanced diamond exploration and sampling vessel is ready to start exploring for diamond deposits in Namibian waters.
The N$2,3 billion vessel will enable Debmarine Namibia to explore diamond deposits and secure diamond supply in the country well into the future.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by dignitaries including Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and Minister of Mines and Energy, Obeth Kandjoze.
Debmarine Namibia is the only company in the world to mine diamonds offshore, having started in 2002.
The company produced around 1,2 million carats in 2016.
Mining of Namibia’s diamonds – some of the most valuable in the world – takes place at around 120-140 metres below sea level.
Through its advanced exploration capabilities, the mv SS Nujoma will enable Debmarine Namibia to increase resource development for the mining fleet.
The mv SS Nujoma is the first in the company’s fleet of five others to be dedicated to exploration and sampling.
It incorporates a range of unique technologies that allow it to sample faster, take larger samples and collect more information per sample than any other diamond sampling vessel. It is capable of sampling at more than double the speed of its predecessor.
The 12,000 tonne, diesel-electric powered vessel has created 140 direct new jobs, the vast majority of which have been filled by Namibians. At 113 metres long, it can accommodate a crew of 80 and has a helicopter deck suitable for Sikorsky S61s.
It was constructed in Ulsteinvik, Norway and fitted with its subsea sampling system, designed by De Beers Group in Cape Town, South Africa. The inauguration follows five months of successful sea trials.
Kandjoze said the launch of the exploration and sampling vessel marks an important milestone for offshore diamond mining in Namibia.
“The mv SS Nujoma represents the largest ever capital investment in underwater diamond mining and will ensure a long-term, sustainable future for offshore diamond mining in Namibia, as well as creating important new jobs for Namibians,” he said.
Debmarine Namibia CEO, Otto Shikongo, said the company is delighted to officially welcome the mv SS Nujoma to its fleet.
“The important collaboration between all parties involved, and the exceptional efforts of those who worked on the vessel’s construction, fitting and sea trials, has seen this impressive vessel delivered three months ahead of schedule and on budget.”
Bruce Cleaver, De Beers Group CEO, said offshore diamond mining is becoming increasingly important in meeting global demand for diamonds, as many of the major onshore deposits have now been discovered.
“The mv SS Nujoma will allow even more of Namibia’s high-quality offshore diamonds to be discovered and mined, ensuring a strong future for Namibia’s diamond industry, as well as the global diamond market,” he said.
Diamond mining is the single biggest contributor to Namibia’s economy. The partnership between the De Beers Group and the Namibian Government delivers more than N$10 billion in revenue annually.