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Crane Hot Line

Focus30 Crane’s Vertical Assembly, High Capacity Are Ideal for Dockside Job

June 13, 2022 – Mammoet recently relied on the reach, capacity, and vertical assembly of its Focus30 crane to install vital machinery onto a diamond-recovery ship in South Africa.

The Benguela Gem is the world's largest diamond recovery vessel. It will contribute $3 billion Namibian dollars per year to that country’s economy.

Owned and operated by Debmarine Namibia, the ship is one of the most technologically advanced vessels in the marine diamond industry.

The vessel’s advanced subsea crawling equipment can recover high-quality diamonds from the seabed in water from 295’-492’ deep.

Debmarine Namibia is a 50/50 joint venture between the Republic of Namibia and the De Beers Group, believed to be the world’s largest diamond company.

The Benguela Gem outfitting was managed for Debmarine Namibia by De Beers Marine in Cape Town, South Africa.

The ship is outfitted specifically to recover diamonds from the ocean floor. Its equipment includes a subsea crawler that recovers diamonds and gravel from the seabed, the launch and recovery system that deploys the crawler to the seabed, and an advanced treatment plant that recovers the diamonds from the gravel before returning almost 99% of the gravel to the seabed.

The ship was designed and built in Europe. De Beers built the diamond-recovery equipment in large modules in Cape Town, where Mammoet then installed it on the ship.

Crane Capability, Vertical Assembly Were Vital

Mammoet’s Focus30 crane was the best option for lifting and installing the diamond-recovery equipment because it had the reach and capacity to install all the components from one spot.

Erected vertically in sections, the crane requires no laydown area for assembling its boom. That meant less infrastructure needed to be disrupted or closed. Also, the Focus30’s ground-bearing pressure of less than 14.2 psi (10t/m²) meant that no special ground civil works were needed. (A link to a 2-minute video of the vertical assembling is at the end of the article.)

Ten modules weighing up to 470.8 USt each needed to be integrated with the vessel. They included the lower and upper launch and recovery towers, a winch, and a crawler. These main modules were built positioned in a semi-circle so they would be in the crane’s lifting radius.

Later, the Focus30 was erected among them. Its assembly took just over two weeks.

Once the 581’ Benguela Gem arrived, Mammoet set the machinery modules on the deck and integrated them in three weeks – 10 days ahead of schedule.

Daily toolbox briefings provided clear direction on safety and interoperation between Mammoet and the customer, ensuring risk assessments of all site activities were made regularly and provided to the client’s management.

Ewan Labuscagne, project manager at Mammoet’s Southern Africa branch, said: “We’re proud to have worked on the construction of the world’s largest diamond recovery vessel using one of the most innovative cranes in the world. I am particularly proud of the entire team: the resilience, flexibility and the teamwork shown, and having played a part in the delivery of the project ahead of schedule, despite the challenges of the pandemic.”

The Benguela Gem has begun diamond recovery operations off the coast of Namibia. It is expected to add 500,000 carats of high-quality diamonds per year to marine diamond production. The ship will also create 160 jobs for Namibians.

To see a 2-minute video of the Focus30 being assembled vertically click here.


Crane Hot Line is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.