Damen Shipyards Group has started construction of a new offshore vessel for De Beers Marine Namibia, which will use it for marine diamond recovery.
A steel cutting ceremony was held in Mangalia, Romania, on 15 May to mark the beginning of construction of the new vessel, which was ordered in February this year.
Damen said that tt 177 metres long, the new vessel will be slightly larger than the current largest vessel in the De Beers Marine Namibia fleet, Mafuta (174 metres). Constructed from a Marin Teknikk design, Damen said the MT 6027 will be 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 kW 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.
Damen sales director offshore, Ruud van der Stroom, said “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. 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.”
De Beers Marine Namibia operates the largest offshore mine in the world, working at a water depth of between 90 and 150 metres off the south west coast of Namibia. 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 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.
The steel cutting ceremony marks 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.
Damen Shipyards Cape Town has also built vessels for De Beers, including two Shoalbuster supply and support vessels.