Home to some of the most beautiful landscape in South Africa, the Richtersveld region is situated in the north-western corner of South Africa’s Northern Cape province. It is in this region that the coastal town of Port Nolloth is located, with its small port out of which the largest offshore diamond mining fleet in the world is supplied by the De Beers logistics base and an offshore supply and support service operated by AMSOL.

Visitors to Port Nolloth will quickly come to love its quiet beauty, friendly residents and close relationship with the sea; reflected in local marine operations supported by two AMSOL launches – ‘Aukwatowa’ and ‘Aogatoa’. These vessels, built in Cape Town in 2015, remain the critical link in the offshore mining logistics chain – and their Masters, Officers & Crew are committed to providing a safe, efficient and professional service to ensure operational continuity.

The decision to build these vessels locally in South Africa five years ago positively impacted skills development and job creation in the ship building sector at the time, and highlighted AMSOL’s ongoing commitment to the Department of Trade & Industry’s National Industrial Participation Programme (NIPP) and Operation Phakisa.


In recent years, a deliberate focus on local recruitment and development now sees an increased number of Ratings and Officers from the region working at sea and rising through the ranks. Local resident Captain Leroy du Plessis is an example of how the operation has impacted the community over the years. He grew up in Port Nolloth and attended the local primary and high schools. With a love of the sea, he pursued a career as a seafarer with AMSOL– achieving his Master’s ticket in 2019. He is one of the Richtersveld residents who now work for the company, having had opportunities to enhance their skills and experience across AMSOL’s operations. To continue this success, AMSOL initiated a dedicated trainee programme which attracts Port Nolloth residents; 3 of whom will complete the experiential learning in 2020.

Underpinning this focus on local recruitment and employment is a programme of maritime career awareness and promotion, and various national Career Exhibition initiatives including local events such as the Northern Cape Career Exhibition series, which was due to take place in early 2020, are participated in and sponsored by AMSOL.


A local supply chain supporting AMSOL’s operations is important to ensure sustainable economic impact, especially during the COVID19 pandemic. The dedicated Strategic Sourcing team also works closely with suppliers and service providers in Port Nolloth, Springbok and surrounds to ensure continuity in the value chain. Medical services, transportation, accommodation, victualling and food supplies, vehicle and equipment maintenance are provided by local businesses who create employment in the area. And enterprise development in the more specialist area of marine engineering is still on the radar. Continuously increasing local procurement remains an important focus for the AMSOL team, whose commitment to socio-economic development underpins its presence in Port Nolloth.

This also remains the foundation of the long-term partnership between De Beers and AMSOL, which aims to create value for all stakeholders, positively impact the region and ensure sustainability.

Did you know? The naming of AMSOL’s two supply launches was an opportunity to preserve cultural heritage. ‘Aukwatowa’ bears the original name of Port Nolloth, meaning “where the water took away the old man”. ‘Aogatoa’, her sister ship, means “safe return”. These vessel names were chosen in collaboration with local community representatives.