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Press Releases, 2/17/2011

A fisheries research vessel for Namibia thanks to interest subsidy from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Press release 50/2010
16 February 2011

Last Friday, STX Finland Oy and the Namibian Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources signed a contract for the construction of a fisheries research vessel. The Government of Namibia is expected to grant its final approval in the coming days. The contract value of the ship is about 35 million euros and its employment impact is about 250 person-years. The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs is supporting the project’s realization by granting about 19 million euros in interest subsidy.

According to Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Väyrynen, protection of the Namibian marine ecosystem as well as sustainable use and monitoring are important to Namibia and globally. The sustainability of fish stocks and the state of the marine environment call for constant research and monitoring. The Benguela Current off the western coast of Angola, Namibia and South Africa is one of the world’s most important fish reserve areas. Fishing is among Namibia’s most important sources of livelihood and is the country’s second largest source of foreign currency after the mining industry.

This modern and innovative research vessel, designed specifically for the purposes of Namibian fisheries research, meets the latest performance standards. The vessel will be used for research into fish and marine biology as well as for oceanographic research. It will also be used for meteorological research and control of fishing.

The vessel will be built at the STX Rauma shipyard and is scheduled for delivery in spring 2012. The ship will have 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. “This order is very important for STX Rauma shipyard. The contract now signed shows that the shipyard has succeeded very well in its long-term development efforts focused on specialized vessels,” says Timo Suistio, Director of STX Rauma shipyard.

The project is in line with the objectives of Finland’s Development Policy Programme. It supports efforts to combat poverty in Namibia by promoting the rise and preservation of sustainable jobs in fishing and the fishing industry; it also contributes to the country’s food security. The research vessel supports ecologically, socially and economically sustainable development and is a continuation of the decades-long bilateral cooperation between Namibia and Finland. It also supports the African framework programme, linked with the Development Policy Programme, with regard to cross-border cooperation in the environmental sector in Southern Africa.

Namibian and Finnish authorities have also had initial talks on a cooperation programme, financed out of development funds, that would improve Namibian know-how in the sector of marine research and navigation. Cooperation on the research vessel now ordered plays a central role in this.

Additional information: Satu Santala, Head of the Unit for Development Financing Institutions, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 9 1605 6323

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Updated 2/17/2011

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