By Donna Collins
AFTER well over a year propped up at the dry dock, the 40-year-old tugboat ‘Omanda’, which sank in the Walvis Bay fishing harbour on January 20 2015, is being given a new lease on life by the Namibia Ports Authority (Namport).
If all goes according to plan the vessel will be back in the waters by the end of this month to join the existing fleet, costing Namport an estimated N$25 million for the extensive repair operation.
Due to the massive damages incurred to the sunken Omanda – the initial decision to write her off was turned around. Faced with spending around N$90 million to replace her with a brand new model, the option to save the old tug and bring her into the ship repair yard, was instead put into motion.
Since then it has been all hands on deck to restore her back to her original form, with various Walvis Bay ship repair companies such as Elgin Brown & Hamer Namibia and Coastal Diesel, to mention some responsible for the excellent results.
According to a Namport spokesperson at the marine department, the Omanda was completely submerged in water, and was almost damaged beyond repair. Two Walvis Bay salvage teams were responsible for the intricate recovery of the sunken tugboat – a mission which took over a week to bring her to the surface.
Everything from the engines, electrics, pumps, machinery, interior and even the wood was written off, with the restoration process being a monumental task. The vessel was built up from scratch working with the shell, but the repair teams have made excellent progress, with everyone looking forward the Omanda being put back to work in the busy port waters.
“It was more feasible to repair her, and we are very satisfied with the progress we have made,” he said. “We are currently busy with the finishing touches, and the last job will be the paint work in and out, before being commissioned back into the water to make sure everything is in running order.”
The Omanda is a tractor tug which is used to manoeuvre vessels by pushing or towing them in and out of the port. She is powered by two mighty engines pushing out 2 000 kW each, which is capable of pulling up to 35 tons. She can accommodate a crew of up to 10 people and houses six cabins.
The tug boat is believed to have struck an underwater object which tore the left side of the vessel and damaged the hull. The stricken vessel was tied up at the fishing jetty of Merlus Seafood Processers, at the time of the accident, but despite all efforts the boat sunk. The crew carried out an orderly evacuation from the sinking vessel and there were no incidents.
Namport is currently operating with two large tugs, two small tugs, a pilot vessel and the launch, and have continued operations despite her being out of operation; but with the increased traffic on the waters, the Omanda will be ease the pressure, and will enable other tugs to be taken out of the water for maintenance repairs.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015