The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhard Esau, last week took delivery of the 'RV Mirabilis' fishing vessel in Finland.
The ministry's research team will use the vessel to ensure that correct vital data is collected to guide the ministry in decision-making.
The 35-million Euro (about N$350 million at the current exchange rate) vessel was bought through a combination of an interest-free loan from the Finnish government and the Namibian government's own resources.
The NB 1378 RV Mirabilis is a versatile vessel, equipped with a Dynamic Positioning System or DPS, and is 62,4 metres long and 14,3 metres wide. The tasks of the ship will include monitoring fish stocks, sorting, processing, freezing and storage of fish, as well as the collection of biological samples from the seabed and water quality research and analysis.
Other tasks envisaged are the control of fishing off the African coast and meteorological research. The RV Mirablis provides accommodation for 44 crewmembers and research personnel.
Esau is also expected to visit Finland's University of Applied Science, which is training Namibians in marine management.
"We are very satisfied to deliver the RV Mirabilis to the customer on schedule and as agreed. Cooperation both at the national level and between the project groups has been extremely good and close through the whole process," says Toivo Ilvonen, Director of STX Rauma Shipyard. "Together with the Agulhas II - the Antarctic research and supply vessel completed in April - the specialised vessel delivered now constitutes an excellent reference in the STX Finland's research vessel segment. Both vessels have attracted a lot of international attention," Ilvonen added.
The RV Mirabilis will replace the current RV Welwitschia, which the ministry says is dilapidated and was a 'hand-me-down' from Japan in 1994.
The RV Welwitschia also has no ability to do deep water trawling and has limited deck space and scientific accommodation on board.
The RV Mirabilis research vessel is a specialised research ship and is specifically designed for the purpose of Namibian fisheries research, at STX Finland's Rauma shipyard.
The ship has a dynamic positioning system and will be operational in any southwest African sea and weather conditions in all seasons, without restrictions. Special attention is paid to the ship's serviceability and low maintenance costs.