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ABB POWER FOR DIAMOND RECOVERY VESSEL

Monday, July 13, 2020 

ABB is to supply an integrated power system package that will ensure what is said to be the world’s largest and most technologically advanced diamond recovery vessel meets exceptional safety, efficiency and availability requirements.

The vessel is being built by Damen at Damen Shipyards Mangalia on the Black Sea in Romania. At a total cost of US$468 million, the vessel is the largest single investment made in the marine diamond industry. It deploys advanced subsea crawling – a technique for recovering diamonds from the seabed. The newbuild will be delivered to Debmarine Namibia, a joint venture between the Government of the Republic of Namibia and De Beers Group in 2022. De Beers Group claims unrivalled expertise in the exploration, mining and marketing of rough diamonds, driving it forward since 1888.

Namibia has the richest known marine diamond deposits, with Debmarine Namibia extracting some of the highest quality diamonds available from water of 90m-150m depth off the south west coast of the country. Traditionally, onshore along the coastline of Namibia, diamond mining is done in open-cast mines, however, with the land-based output in Namibia expected to run out in 15 years, offshore mining is on the rise.

The new 177m ship has been designed by Norwegian naval architects Marin Teknikk. It will become the largest ship in the owner’s fleet, exceeding the size of Debmarine Namibia’s current largest vessel, the Mafuta, by 8,000 tons displacement. It is expected to increase the shipowner’s annual production by 35%, contributing an additional 500,000 carats to today’s production levels.

The offshore mining specialist has previously installed ABB’s power systems on board the SS Nujoma (SSN), Debmarine Namibia’s deep-water diamond exploration and sampling vessel.

Michael Curtis, head of the newbuild project for Debmarine Namibia, said: “The success of the SSN, with high reliability, efficient positioning and low fuel consumption coupled with safe operation, was instrumental in selecting the same systems for the new diamond recovery vessel, with ABB’s power systems being and integral part of the solution.”

The latest ABB technology will ensure that the vessel achieves optimum uptime. In addition to the system for power generation, distribution and variable speed drive propulsion systems, the solution includes a large online double-conversion marine uninterruptible power supply (MUPS) to support the ship’s vital control processes, significantly reducing the risk of critical power loss and downtime. ABB’s integrated power system will help optimise engine loading, as well as reduce running hours and fuel costs, and decrease maintenance needs.

“ABB is trusted globally as a leading technology company capable of delivering solutions for advanced and complex custom-built vessels. We are delighted to be working with them as part of a landmark newbuilding project for both companies,” said Mark Vermeulen MD Damen Offshore and Transport.

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