Damen Shipyards Group and De Beers Marine Namibia have marked the beginning of construction on a new offshore mining vessel with a steel cutting ceremony.
In February 2019, De Beers Marine Namibia awarded a contract to Damen to build a new crawler diamond recovery vessel for offshore operations in Namibia.
At 177 meters (577 feet) long, the new vessel will be slightly larger than the current largest vessel in the De Beers Marine Namibia fleet, Mafuta (174 metres, 571 feet).
Constructed from a Marin Teknikk design, the MT 6027 will be the one of the most technologically advanced marine diamond recovery vessel in the world.
On-board features include a dynamic positioning system (DP2) based on a seven-thruster propulsion system powered by six generators of 3230 eKW each.
This is the first time Damen has interacted with De Beers Marine Namibia as clients, and the new opportunity is one of several generated by Damen’s shipyard in Mangalia, Romania.
Damen sales director offshore, Ruud van der Stroom, said: “So far, Damen’s newbuild focus has mainly been on standardization and in-house or own design vessels, along with various types of support and service vessels built for the offshore market.
“However, the facilities in Mangalia allow us to respond positively to De Beers Marine Namibia’s newbuild enquiry: an engineered-to-order project with vessel dimensions beyond that built by Damen ever before.”
In terms of progress, van der Stroom added, “This week we reached a first milestone: steel cutting. We are looking forward to the construction of this vessel, a challenging project I’m convinced Damen, with its extensive expertise and knowledgeable personnel, will successfully deliver on time.”
De Beers Marine Namibia owns five mining vessels and a dedicated sampling vessel, and additionally charters one sampling/mining vessel.
Michael Curtis, head of the Addition Mining Vessel 3 Project for De Beers Marine, said: “We were already well aware of Damen’s reputation as a reliable, efficient shipbuilder and we are pleased to contract Damen to build this vessel for us after successfully winning a Global Tender for the construction of the vessel. De Beers Marine (South Africa) will construct the mission equipment, comprising a subsea crawler and diamond recovery plant, in South Africa in parallel to the vessel construction. Once the vessel is delivered by Damen, it will be sailed to South Africa where the mission equipment will be integrated into the vessel by De Beers Marine. Given the parallel path and complexity of the project, it is critical to work with the best shipbuilders who have a reputation for performance and on-time delivery.”
The steel cutting ceremony marked the beginning of construction on the vessel, which will take around two years to build. Damen Shipyards Mangalia will deliver the vessel platform in Mangalia and the vessel will sail on its own keel to Cape Town, South Africa.
After the integration of the mission equipment in Cape Town, the vessel is expected to deliver first diamond production in Q2 2022.