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Friday, May 17, 2019 

Damen Shipyards Group and De Beers Marine Namibia have cut the first steel for a new crawler diamond recovery vessel for offshore operations in Namibia.

At 177m long, the new vessel will be slightly larger than the current largest vessel in the De Beers Marine Namibia fleet, Mafuta (174m). Constructed to a Marin Teknikk design, the MT 6027 is said to be the most technologically advanced marine diamond recovery vessel yet. On-board features include a DP2 system based on a seven-thruster propulsion system powered by six generators of 3230kWe 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. The Mangalia yard has the largest capacity of all Damen’s yards, with a total of three drydocks up to 60m in width and 1.6km total berthing space. The larger capacity has allowed Damen to take on larger construction projects, such as a ro-ro ferry measuring 148m in length, a 155m long cruise vessel, and this new 177m offshore mining vessel for De Beers.

Damen sales director offshore, Ruud van der Stroom, is pleased to have the opportunity for Damen to apply its expertise at a greater scale. “So far, Damen’s newbuild focus has mainly been on standardisation and in-house or own design vessels, along with various types of support and service vessels built for the offshore market,” he said. “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.”

After an intensive tender process, Damen was able to secure the contract with De Beers Marine Namibia in February 2019 and has since been working on design completion and on preparation of the Mangalia yard for the vessel’s construction.

De Beers Marine Namibia's offshore mine is worked at a water depth of between 90m and 150m, off the Namibian south west coast. The company 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.”

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