WINDHOEK: The government will built a museum to conserve the collections from the shipwreck that was discovered in the coastal line of Oranjemund four years ago.
Deputy Minister of Youth, National Services, Sport and Culture Pohamba Shifeta announced this on Wednesday during the official opening of stakeholders workshop for the Oranjemund shipwreck collections.
Proposal for a new museum on the shipwreck is part of the discussion in the stakeholders workshop.
The workshop also will deliberate on issues such conserving the shipwreck, researching the Oranjemund shipwreck, communicating the shipwreck to the world and the shipwreck and local economic development.
“We will will build a museum so that the world can come and enjoy, educate and entertain themselves,” said Shifeta.
He said the government will try its best to ensure that small bus8inesses for example in tour guiding and other operations are developed.
“We will also continue to build capacity in underwater archeology both in conservation and research,” he stated.
“Heritage is our soul, under no circumstances must we sell our souls. This heritage is rare and non-renewable, we must secure it for the future,” said Shifeta.
“We must continue with conservation efforts and build capacity in this area. Training of our people is critical,” he added further.
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.