Staff Writer

Debmarine Namibia’s N$7 billion flagship vessel, the Debmarine Namibia’s 3rd Additional Mining Vessel (AMV3) was successfully launched in Damen Shipyard, Mangalia Romania.

The floating of the 177 metres (577 feet) marine diamond recovery vessel and the world’s biggest, marks the start of at least 30 years of operational service.

Constructed from a Marinteknikk design, the AMV3 is the current largest in the Debmarine Namibia fleet.

“It brings a great comfort to learn that the AMV3 was launched successfully in Romania. Present situation due to COVID-19 pandemic and travelling restrictions around the world, my team could not witness the historical milestone of the vessel. Debmarine Namibia is indebted to De Beers Marine South Africa, Damen shipbuilding group, Marinteknikk Naval Architects as they demonstrated world class capability in producing this unique, highly innovative, marine diamond recovery vessel. Despite the COVID-19 challenge, the loyalty, dedication and commitment of the project team thus far, is highly commendable”, said Otto Shikongo, Debmarine Namibia CEO.

Present at the vessel launch, Greg Geckson De Beers Vessel Area Manager for AMV3 said the event marked the birth of the vessel and a step closer to delivery of the vessel which will be the largest, most complex and environmental friendly marine diamond recovery vessel.

“We are hugely impressed by dedication, passion and high standard displayed by Damen towards delivery of this vessel with an excellent safety record so far”.

The vessel outfitting is expected to take seven months and the fully operational vessel will make its one month maiden voyage to Cape Town where the mission equipment will be installed on board followed by sea trials and eventually joining diamond recovery operation by February 2020.

On completion, the vessel is expected to increase 500,000 carats annually to Debmarine Namibia’s production, an increase of approximately 35 per cent on current production.

The AMV3 construction project was one of the largest commercial transactional deals in Namibia last year, with five commercial banks partnering in the N$7billion (US$468m) financing deal for 80 percent of the vessel construction costs and 20 percent by Debmarine Namibia.

In its first five years of production, the AMV3 is expected to contribute N$2bn per annum in taxes and royalties to the Namibian Treasury.