Largest diamond mining vessel in world heads to Cape Town
De Beers’ latest diamond recovery vessel departs for Southern Africa
Following the official handover held last month at Damen Shipyards Mangalia, Debmarine Namibia’s new diamond recovery vessel departed on a four-week long maiden voyage to the Port of Cape Town, South Africa, where it will be fitted with mission equipment before beginning operations off the coast of Namibia early next year.
The delivery marks the end of the shipbuilding phase of a landmark project that began over three years ago. It is the first vessel to be delivered by Damen Shipyards Mangalia, the Romanian yard that joined the Damen group in 2018, to take on large and complex, engineered to order projects under the banner of the Mid-Sized Vessels division.
The Additional Mining Vessel (AMV#3) as it is technically known, will use sub-sea crawling extraction techniques to retrieve diamonds from the seabed off the coast of Namibia. These will then be processed on board. 177 metres in length, it is now the largest diamond recovery vessel in the world and the new flagship of the Debmarine Namibia fleet. The vessel is expected to operate for at least 30 years.
The build involved many challenges, ranging from the onset of COVID-19 early in the project to the management of many subcontractors, each contributing their specialist skills and products. Engineering challenges included the installation of a DP2 dynamic positioning system based on a seven-thruster propulsion system powered by six generators, to enable greater flexibility in the vessel’s operations. Project management was undertaken by De Beers Marine South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
With the constraints of COVID-19 Damen also undertook the complete commissioning process, implementing incremental ways of working to ensure that it was all completed on time. “De Beers celebrates the completion of the vessel which, after a long period of design, construction and testing has now proceeded to sea” said Michael Curtis, Head of the AMV3 Project. “The vessel build has been a truly multinational effort which has converged successfully at Damen Shipyards Mangalia. The build of this magnificent ship has enjoyed a high profile in Namibia as the largest ever single investment in the history of marine diamond recovery.
“Today marks a significant milestone in the project and for our company as the vessel starts its journey to Cape Town where it will be outfitted with the mission equipment. Damen’s dedication to building this high-quality and complex vessel, under very difficult circumstances and to do so with an excellent safety record is acknowledged and the quality of the ship is a testament to the skills of all who have been involved.”