A $420 million ship dubbed “the world’s most advanced diamond recovery vessel” goes into operation this week.
The Benguela Gem was unveiled in Namibia at an inauguration ceremony attended by the country’s President Hage Geingob, according to a March 18 press release from De Beers Group.
The custom-built vessel “will add … 500,000 carats of high value diamonds to Debmarine Namibia’s annual production, an increase of around 45 per cent, while creating 160 high-skilled jobs for Namibians,” the company stated.
Debmarine Namibia is a 50/50 joint venture between De Beers Group and the government of Namibia. The Benguela Gem joins the Debmarine Namibia fleet, which “responsibly recovers some of the world’s highest quality diamonds,” according to De Beers.
The vessel was designed in Norway and Poland, built in Romania and fitted out with its mission equipment by De Beers Marine South Africa. It took two years to construct.
Diamond recovery by Debmarine Namibia takes place at 90 to 150 meters below sea level and is “the single biggest contributor to Namibia’s economy,” De Beers stated.
The world’s most advanced diamond recovery vessel, the Benguela Gem, has today been officially unveiled in Namibia at an inauguration ceremony attended by His Excellency, President Hage Geingob, Minister of Mines and Energy, the Honourable Tom Alweendo and De Beers Group CEO, Bruce Cleaver. The vessel will commence operations from next week, well ahead of its original schedule.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group, said: “The Benguela Gem is the first of its kind and represents an outstanding feat of engineering design, technology innovation and sustainability performance. Despite significant challenges presented by Covid-19, the project was delivered ahead of time and budget – a testament to the world-leading skill and expertise of all involved. The investment in this vessel will support a long term, sustainable future for Namibia’s diamond sector, which is home to some to the most sought-after diamonds in the world.”
Otto Shikongo, CEO of Debmarine Namibia, said: “As we gather here for the inauguration of this new vessel, just days before Namibia celebrates its 32 years of independence, bear testimony that we at Debmarine Namibia will continue to make our stakeholders proud by delivering real value for both our shareholders and the people of Namibia.”