By Business Reporter
TUNACOR Group Limited has announced its intention to construct Namibia’s first fishing vessel, at a cost of N$160 million.
This will be the only dedicated vessel designed for fishing within Namibian waters and marks a departure from the standard practice of refitting foreign vessels for the local fishing sector. It is expected that the vessel, christened Oshiveli, an Oshiwambo word meaning firstborn, will bring benefits to both Tunacor and Namibia.
Oshiveli will be a polyvalent steel stern trawler, which is expected to have an operational life of 40 years. It will have a gross tonnage of 1200 tons, a cargo capacity of 500 tons of fish, and will measure 53m long and 11.5 meters wide. It is anticipated that this will be the first of many fishing vessels built by Namibian fishing companies, in the years ahead.
An investment of N$160 million will be required to construct Oshiveli and construction is expected to take 18 months.
It will be the first dedicated vessel, capable of catching three main commercial species in Namibia – hake, monk and horse mackerel. Due to the variety of catches, the vessel will be operational throughout the year, making it more profitable, both for Tunacor and the Namibian economy.
The vessel will incorporate the latest engine and trawling technology, ensuring optimal fuel consumption and maximum operational capabilities, while reducing emissions and waste.
Tunacor Group Limited Director, Peya Hitula, said at the construction launch last week that the new vessel will benefit Namibia, through improved operational capabilities, increased fuel-efficiency, and the development of a more competitive and sustainable fleet.
It is anticipated that this improved fleet will be both safer for the crew and friendlier to the environment.
“The benefits to the Namibian economy, as a result of this project, include the 200 direct jobs we expect to create, by building this vessel. Sixty of these positions will be onboard and 140 will be land-based. There will also be hundreds of jobs indirectly created, in the supply, maintenance and logistic chains,” Hitula said.
Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister, Bernard Esau, highlighted the fact that building fishing vessels within Namibia will translate into future economic opportunities.
It will assist in increasing the country’s pace of industrialisation and economic diversification, affording greater opportunity to achieve the national goals, as outlined in the Harambee Prosperity Plan, Esau said.
“More skilled people within the marine sector will be able to manufacture and service our equipment, without the need for recourse to imported labour,” he said.
Esau added that private and public entities must diversify the sector, through value-addition and innovation, which encourages self-reliance and sustainability.
Tunacor’s workforce stood at 450 in 2006, which has risen to 1 400 in 2017, and is expected to grow by another 200 workers, following the launch of Oshiveli into local fishing waters.
Moving forward, more vessels will be built, the company said.
Tunacor’s strategic focus, however, remains the empowerment of its employees, through continuous training, improved working conditions and increased operational efficiency.
Tunacor Group Limited was established in 1958, as a cannery to process pilchards. The company became Namibian-owned in 2014, while moving its focus from pilchards to hake and monk. Tunacor offers value-added frozen fish products to retail outlets and distributors, nationally and across the globe. The company’s vision is to become the role model in the fishing industry, by increasing its competitiveness internationally, and contributing more towards social responsibilities.
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