The Namibian Navy has christened its new logistics support ship ‘Elephant’ at a ceremony in Walvis Bay, President Hifikepunye Pohamba has revealed.

Pohamba was quoted by New Era news paper as saying that the event marked a significant milestone in the development of capabilities for the Namibian Navy and the Namibian Defence Force (NDF).

The new vessel is expected to boost the country’s naval logistic capabilities, while ensuring safety of the nation. It will join the existing Namibian fleet consisting of the NS Brendan Simbwaye, as well as two harbour patrol boats called Mowe Bay and Terrace Bay.

"We firmly believe Namibian Ship Elephant will play an important role in defending Namibian territorial waters."

In addition to protecting the country’s exclusive economic zone, the ship will also be capable of addressing unexpected threats or events that may occur in Namibia’s territorial waters, according to Pohamba.

Wang Xiao Chao, vice-president and board member of China Poly, which is responsible for construction of the ship, said: "We firmly believe that Namibian Ship Elephant will significantly improve the Namibian Navy’s capability of territorial water control and logistic support and will play an important role in defending Namibian territorial waters."

President Pohamba added: "It is for this reason that Namibia cooperates with other member states in SADC (Southern African Development Community) to maintain peace and security in our region."

Scheduled to replace the decommissioned lieutenant general Dimo Hamaambo ship for the navy, China’s Wuhan Shipyard-built Namibian Ship (NS) Elephant is armed with a 37mm naval gun and two 14.5mm twin-barrelled machine guns.

Capable of carrying 6x12ft containers of 24t, the 2,500t ship has been designed to carry six armed personnel carriers of 12t each and at least a crew of 150.