Walvis Bay ship repairer to add Panamax floating dock

EBH-NAMIBIAJUNE 18, 2013 — Ship repairer Elgin Brown and Hamer (EBH) Namibia has acquired a third floating dry dock. The 195 m long, 15,000 ton lift capacity Panamax dock will increase capacity at its Walvis Bay shipyard by 60 percent.

The acquisition is seen as an important addition to the national infrastructure of Namibia which has seen a resurgence in the mining industry, after the discovery of oil and natural gas off the coast of Walvis Bay.

Walvis Bay ship repair facility will soon have a third floating dry dock

NAMPORT, the Namibian Ports Authority, is the majority shareholder in EBH Namibia. The balance of shares were recently acquired by South Africa's DCD Group, making EBH Namibia part of the DCD Marine cluster of companies.

EBH Namibia, which in addition to general ship repair also focuses on the maintenance and repair of offshore supply vessels, currently operates two floating dry docks namely Namdock 1 and 2, in Walvis Bay. The acquisition of the third dock will further position Namibia as one of the leading ship repair countries along the west coast of Africa.

EBH Namibia CEO Hannes Uys says that as the company has completed two floating dock acquisitions in the past, it is prepared for the Panamax dock installation and commissioning.

"The project has two phases. The first is the positioning of the dock, which will require the moving of Namdock 1 to a new position; and the placing of moorings, dredging and positioning of Namdock 3," Mr. Uys explains.

"The second phase is the continuation of the repairs carried out at the ASL Shipyard in Batam, Indonesia in order to reinstate class certification. If all goes according to plan, we expect the dock to be in operation by September 2013."

EBH Namibia will be contributing towards skills development and training as well as job creation in the process.

Willie Esterhuyse, EBH Namibia Commercial Manager, reports that the project will create an estimated 150 job opportunities – the majority of which will be offered to local residents. Employees will be incorporated into the project as and when skills are required. He adds that with a population of two million, the greatest challenge that EBH Namibia faces will be the recruitment of appropriate skills and experience at all the levels required by a project of this magnitude.

The company will embark on an active recruitment drive, as well as implementing skills exchange programs with international shipyards, and mentorship training.

"Our current infrastructure was developed around the operation of two floating docks, and a critical review of current versus required facilities identified various shortcomings in our available infrastructure, equipment and facilities," says Mr. Uys. "We saw this as a great opportunity to upgrade our facilities and equipment; and thereby ensure the continuance of the effective and consistent service which our existing and new customers expect. To address this, we will be running relevant management development programs as well as embarking on a capital equipment acquisition program which will increase our capacity."

He adds that EBH Namibia has been fortunate to date in having a continuous order book and repeat customers. "The additional capacity provided by the third dock has given us the opportunity to expand our customer base and seek new market opportunities," he concludes.

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