The most advanced marine diamond sampling and exploration vessel in the world, the highly specialised Norwegian-built Nujoma, has completed equipment sea trials off South Africa and was expected to start work off the coast of south-west Africa during December 2016.

Built by Norway’s Kleven Verft for Debmarine Namibia at a cost of $65 million, the new ship is based on a Marin Teknikk MT 6022 design and measures 112.8m by 22m with a loaded displacement of 12,000 tonnes.

A diesel-electric system integrates Caterpillar engines and generator sets with Rolls Royce thrusters for propulsion and manoeuvrability, while accommodation has been arranged for a working crew of 80.

A subsea sampling system, including a drilling system capable of collecting 48 seabed samples per day, and a diamond treatment plant developed by De Beers Marine of South Africa, have been installed to support mining operations on the ocean floor at depths of between 90m and 150m.

Nujoma will undertake exploration operations for three years before returning to port for maintenance. Jim Shaw

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