By Hilary Mare
THOUGH the Debmarine Namibia Social Responsibility Fund, Debmarine Namibia has sponsored N$ 250 000 to University of Namibia, towards the establishment of the School of Marine Engineering & Maritime Studies as well as towards the centre of Mining & Metallurgical Research Training.
Debmarine Namibia is a marine diamond prospecting and mining Company owned in equal shares by the government and De Beers.
Speaking at the sponsorship event last week, Chief Executive Officer of Debmarine Namibia, Otto Shikongo said that as a responsible corporate citizen, the company’s initiatives focus on community development programmes, capacity and skills development, donations, emergency relief, infrastructure development.
Currently, Namibia has no institution that provides dedicated education and training in maritime fields at bachelor or postgraduate degree level. Shikongo went on to add that as one of the main players in this industry, Debmarine is faced with challenges of a shortage of qualified and competent skills in this area explain that the company relies heavily on developing its own talent resource pool, through its trainee and long-term trainee programmes in which we invest significantly. “We applaud UNAM supported by the Sam Nujoma Foundation for the noble initiative to establish this much needed institution, which we believe will grow the Namibian maritime talent pool. This will allow Namibia to compete on a global scale with other countries. We challenge UNAM to remain dedicated and focused in delivering on this dream, by developing curriculum and training facility of international standards and accreditation – which we can be proud of-and which the private sector can rely on. As a Company operating offshore, our immediate communities are the landlords of the Atlantic Ocean,” he said. In 2012, Debmarine Namibia initiated the establishment of the Marine Scientific Advisory Committee (MSAC). The Committee comprises external international scientists and other key stakeholders to review the results of the Benthic Monitoring Programme and its effectiveness. Debmarine Namibia’s benthic monitoring programme assesses the effect of mining operations on the benthic communities of Atlantic Mining Licence Area, and monitors the time of recovery after mining.“On an annual basis during the period October to December, benthic samples are collected from designated control, impact and natural variability sites, across the mining licence area. We invest significantly in the benthic macro fauna, samples collection, analyses and review process. The samples to be handed over today are those taken over a 3-year period: 2013 – 2015 – which cost an estimated N$9.9million. “As a responsible environment steward, our investment in environmental initiatives is in support of Government’s drive towards conservation and sustainable development, such as education of young Namibians in coastal biodiversity, environmental conservation and wildlife protection – such as the N$1.5million sponsorship to the Save-The-Rhino Trust in 2017. Internally, we set the example by desalinating our own water for domestic usage on board each of our six vessels,” said Shikongo.
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