WINDHOEK: The government of Namibia and that of Portugal will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on capacity building on conservation.
Portuguese Embassy Charge d’ Effairs Helena de Paiva announced this on Wednesday that the two governments will sign MoU during summer season to allow training of Namibians in conservation of maritime heritages.
“We want to train Namibians on how to conserve better the discovered shipwreck and its collections,” Paiva told Nampa in an interview.
She said after the signing of MoU, more students will be sent to Portugal to study on how to conserve, preserve and protect the shipwreck and other students will be trained in Namibia.
Paiva thanked the Namibian government for its efforts in putting a lot resources aimed at conserving the shipwreck and its collections.
In April 2008 a shipwreck was discovered along the southern Sperrgebiet coast with priceless loot in the form of glittering gold coins and hundreds of almost mint-condition silver pieces.
Other artefacts retrieved were ivory tusks, thousands of Portuguese and Spanish gold and silver coins minted in late 1400 and early 1500, and pewterware.
Astrolabes were the only navigational tools found on the wreck.
Astrolabes can be used to determine how far north or south you have sailed, although what doomed this ship still remains a cryptic jigsaw puzzle.
In all likelihood it ran aground due to bad weather, as this stretch of coast was notorious for fierce, disorienting storms.
At this stage the origin of this find remains a mystery, although reports speculate the wreck might be from the fleet of four, small, fast Portuguese ships led by Bartholomeu Dias in the 15th and 17th centuries that came to grief during a storm off the Cape of Good Hope in May 1500.
Dias’s caravel was part of a fleet of a dozen ships that set sail from Portugal in the first half of 1500 under the stewardship of highly respected sailor Pedro Alvarez Cabral, who stumbled on Brazil after becoming lost at sea.
The discovery was made inside Namdeb’s Mining Area 1.
Namibian heritage laws on such discoveries automatically give ownership of the loot to the Namibian Government.