JUNE 16, 2017 — The world’s largest and most advanced diamond exploration and sampling vessel, the M/V SS Nujoma, is ready to start exploring for diamond deposits in Namibian waters, following its official inauguration yesterday.
Designed by Norway’s Marin Teknikk and built in Norway by Kleven Shipyard, the ship was delivered last year and subsequently 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.
The US$157 million vessel will enable Debmarine Namibia, a 50/50 joint venture between the Government of the Republic of Namibia and De Beers Group, to explore diamond deposits and secure diamond supply in the country well into the future.
The inauguration ceremony, held yesterday in Walvis Bay, Namibia, was attended by dignitaries including Prime Minister the Right Honorable Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and Founding President Dr Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma, who the vessel was named after, as well as Namibia’s Minister of Mines and Energy, the Honorable 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 takes place at around 120 m to 140 m below sea level. Through its advanced exploration capabilities, the M/V SS Nujoma will enable Debmarine Namibia to increase resource development for the mining fleet.
The M/V SS Nujoma is the first in the company’s fleet of five other vessels 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 m long, it can accommodate a crew of 80 and has a helicopter deck suitable for Sikorsky S61s.