By Adam Hartman
Tunacor Fisheries at Walvis Bay will become the first local fishing company to own a custom-built fishing vessel.
The vessel will be named ‘Oshiveli’, which is Oshiwambo for ‘first-born’.
Most of the vessels operating in Namibia’s waters are either old, second-hand or customised to fisheries different from Namibia’s.
Tunacor general manager Peya Hitula said Namibian companies will also be involved in the vessel’s construction, especially when it came to the vessel’s custom-built functions.
Hitula said the vessel was part of the company’s efforts to develop its value addition and markets, which in turn would create more jobs.
The vessel was designed by Tunacor around the company’s specific requirements within the context of Namibia’s fishing environment.
The ‘shell’ will, however, be built at the Spanish port of Vigo by a renowned shipyard which has already supplied Namport with tugs, and the Namibian police with its first police patrol vessel named after former president Hifikepunye Pohamba.
Ship plans show the vessel will be 53 metres in length and over 11 metres wide, with a gross tonnage of 1 200 tonnes and a holding capacity of 500 tonnes.
It also has a freezing capacity of 40 tonnes a day in its tunnel and plate freezers. It will be able to accommodate 60 crew members.
The bulk part of the 2 420 horsepower engine will be built by Yamaha in Japan.
Oshiveli will cost N$160 million and take 18 months to build.
The vessel will be used to catch hake, monk and horse mackerel.
The company already employs 1 300 people, and this is expected to increase to 1 500 once the vessel is commissioned. Not only that, but it will also help stimulate and develop ship building in Namibia.
Fisheries minister Bernhard Esau said Tunacor was an example when it came to developing the industry and ensuring Namibians benefitted from it. He said projects such as the building of the vessel could only attract favourable cooperation from government when it came to quota allocations.
“If you do not invest, you cannot expect much. Tunacor is investing, regardless of difficult economic circumstances,” said Esau.
He also lamented the fact that Namibia’s fishing fleet was mostly over 30 years old, which he considered a risk to crew, encouraging companies to invest in newer vessels.