About Us

Dry docking facilities and Walvis Bay main harbour

KRAATZ ENGINEERING, a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List Group of Companies, is a proudly Namibian enterprise with a rich engineering heritage dating back to 1925.

With the headquarters in the coastal town of Walvis Bay, we provide services to the oil and gas, mining, fishing and general industrial sectors in Namibia as well as on the western seaboard of Africa.

Our clients include leading national and international companies and we have established ourselves as a highly skilled, innovative, competitive and experienced engineering service provider.

Our many years of experience and excellent craftsmanship in multi-skilled engineering and specialised services have allowed us to provide our clients with the highest standards in quality, safety and reliability.

We have also nurtured various relationships with trusted local and international service providers to complement our services.

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Proud History

Kraatz is a proudly Namibian engineering organization which a rich heritage dating back to 1925. The organization is an amalgamation of various entities over many years giving the company such a rich heritage. The son of the founder of the Ohlthaver and List Group of companies (100% owners of Kraatz), Werner List, acquired and created a number of engineering related entities during the late sixties and early seventies that formed the building blocks of the modern day Kraatz.

Kraatz Welding and Engineering was started by the resourceful and hardworking Richard (Joe) Kraatz in the 1950’s. He was renowned for his drive and dedication and this gave him an admirable reputation within the Walvis Bay business community. He started off his business in 3rd street in a small garage with 2 employees. He grew his business and was very active in the thriving fishing industry in those years. He provided services to Consortium Fisheries which is owned by the Ohlthaver and List group. Werner List bought the company from Joe in 1969 and he remained in the position of general manager. His operation was moved from his premises in 3rd street to the current premises of Kraatz. Joe left Kraatz in 1972 and started Hydroweld in Walvis Bay, Cape Town and Windhoek with partners.

Nieswandt Boat Yard was founded by the legendary Fritz Nieswandt in Luderitz. Born in Königsburg in East Prussia in 1886, he was apprenticed to the shipbuilding firm of Blohm and Voss in Hamburg. He served in the German Navy, migrated to the United States where he was successful as a gold miner in the Nevada desert, a stevedore on Los Angeles waterfront and a deep sea diver off the coast of California. Wanderlust took him to Chile where he was caught up in one of those sporadic South American revolutions and found it wise to make a hurried departure to Argentine. He met up with an old German friend who told him about the fabulous discovery of diamonds at Luderitzbucht in what was then German South West Africa (Namibia). They boarded an American windjammer, the “Bruinhill” that was about to sail to Africa and Luderitzbucht was a port of call. He held several occupations in the diamond fields including building and maintaining a diamond washing machine, building bridges and houses and was involved in the construction of the power station in Luderitz. In the early 1920's he ventured into boat building and by 1925 Nieswandt Boats had earned a reputation for seaworthiness and dependability. In his 40 years of boat building, he built 96 fishing cutters and 4 research vessels. Werner List bought Nieswandt Boatyard from Fritz Nieswandt in 1969. A number of boats for Consortium Fisheries were built in Nieswandt Boat yard in Luderitz. After Nieswandt Boat Yard was acquired by Werner List, he set up a similar operation in Walvis Bay and all further boats were built for Consortium in Walvis Bay. Wooden boat building disappeared slowly with the emergence of steel constructed fishing vessels in the 1970's.

Domi Metals were founded by Jan Don and his wife, Anna. They were Dutch nationals that came to Walvis Bay in the early 50's after the Second World War. They were part of a small intimate Dutch community in Walvis Bay. Jan Don built the first workshop (current machine shop) in 1957. The purpose of the workshop was for general storage and it was only later converted into a workshop. Apart from his engineering workshop he also owned a small 5000 ton bunker vessel, the Jantina, that provided fuel to the large fleet of fishing vessels in the harbor. That was before modern day jetties were common at the fishing factories. He also built a yacht, the Jananna that he shipped to the Netherlands when he sold his business to Werner List in 1968. The head office of Kraatz and main workshops are still on this premises today.

Khan Construction was formed in 1969 as joint venture between Khan Mine and Yntze (pronounce Enzo) Schrauwen. Khan mine was in turn owned by Ohlthaver and List the holding company of Kraatz. The business focus of Khan Construction was civil engineering projects in Namibian (then South West Africa) and various flow water weirs were constructed for the then Department of water affairs and a number of building projects for the Ohlthaver and List group.

Namibian Engineering Ingenuity