Damen Shipyards Group has a awarded a contract to ABB to deliver an advanced power system for the world’s first custom-built diamond recovery vessel
The diamond recovery vessel under construction at Damen Shipyards Mangalia in Romania will have an ABB integrated power system package. This package covers an advanced system for power generation, distribution and variable speed drive propulsion systems, and 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 MUPS is designed for undisrupted availability, ensuring power backup for the vessel’s onboard control systems of the subsea-crawler and processing plant that sorts through sediment lifted from the seabed to extract diamonds. ABB’s advanced and tightly integrated power system will help optimise engine loading, reduce running hours and fuel costs, and decrease maintenance needs.
With a total cost of US$468M, the vessel is the largest single investment ever 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 is the world’s leading diamond company, with experience in the exploration, mining and marketing of rough diamonds since 1888.
Namibia has the richest known marine diamond deposits in the world, with Debmarine Namibia extracting some of the highest quality diamonds available anywhere from water of between 90-150 m deep off the southwest coast of the country. Traditionally, diamond mining is done in open-cast mines onshore along the coastline of Namibia, however, with the land-based output in Namibia expected to run out in 15 years, offshore mining is on the rise.
Designed by Norwegian naval architects Marin Teknikk, the 177-m vessel will become the largest ship in Debmarine Namibia’s fleet, surpassing Mafuta. The new vessel is expected to increase the shipowner’s annual production by 35%, contributing an additional 500,000 carats.
The offshore mining specialist has previously installed ABB’s power systems on board the SS Nujoma (SSN), Debmarine Namibia’s deepwater diamond exploration and sampling vessel.
“The success of 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,” said Michael Curtis, who is heading the newbuild project for Debmarine Namibia.
“ABB is trusted globally as a leading technology company capable of delivering solutions for advanced and complex custom-built vessels,” said Damen Offshore & Transport managing director Mark Vermeulen. Mr Vermeulen called it "a landmark newbuilding project for both companies".
ABB Marine & Ports managing director Juha Koskela agreed. “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,” said Mr Koskela. “We are thrilled to see that the team behind this advanced vessel recognises the benefits of efficiency, safety and uptime available through integration.”
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