ABB has won a contract from Damen Shipyards Group to deliver an advanced power system for Debmarine Namibia’s custom-built diamond recovery vessel.
The Switzerland-based company will supply an integrated power system package that will ensure the world’s largest and most technologically advanced diamond recovery vessel meets exceptional safety, efficiency and availability requirements, it said. The vessel is being built by Damen at Damen Shipyards Mangalia on the Black Sea, in Romania.
With a total cost of $468 million, the vessel is the largest single investment ever made in the marine diamond industry, according to Debmarine. It deploys advanced subsea crawling – a technique for recovering diamonds from the seabed. The new build will be delivered to Debmarine Namibia, a joint venture between the Government of the Republic of Namibia and De Beers Group, in 2022.
Debmarine Namibia extracts some of the highest quality diamonds available anywhere from water of between 90-150 m deep off the south west coast of the country.
The new 177 m ship has been designed by Norway-based 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 t displacement (vessel weight based on the amount of water displaced by the hull). It is expected to increase the shipowner’s annual production by 35%, contributing an additional 500,000 ct to today’s production levels.
The offshore mining specialist previously installed ABB’s power systems on board the SS Nujoma (SSN), Debmarine Namibia’s deep-water diamond exploration and sampling vessel.
Michael Curtis, who is heading the new build 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 an integral part of the solution.”
The latest ABB technology will ensure the vessel achieves unsurpassed uptime, according to the company.
In addition to the advanced 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 control processes, significantly reducing the risk of critical power loss and downtime.
“ABB’s MUPS is designed for undisrupted availability, ensuring power backup for the vessel’s on-board control systems of the subsea-crawler and processing plant that sorts through sediment lifted from the seabed to extract diamonds,” ABB said. “ABB’s advanced and tightly integrated power system will help optimise engine loading, as well as reduce running hours and fuel costs, and decrease maintenance needs.”
Juha Koskela, Managing Director, ABB Marine & Ports, said: “This is a truly special ship, packed with sophisticated technology, and a project demanding an especially close relationship with the customer to ensure that optimal solutions were delivered for exact specifications.
“We are thrilled to see that the team behind this advanced vessel recognises the benefits of efficiency, safety and uptime available through integration. This success is also consistent with growing traction for ABB’s electric, digital and connected solutions across an increasing number of vessel types and operational profiles.”