The First South African Merchant Vessel After Three Decades

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Merchant Vessel

The Cape Orchid is the first merchant vessel to be registered under the South African flag since 1985. The  300 metre long, Japanese-built bulk carrier is owned by South African operator Vuka Marine, a joint venture between Via Maritime Holdings of South Africa and K-Line of Japan and registered in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

It arrived in Saldanha Bay (South Africa) last week to transport a cargo of iron ore from Anglo American’s Kumba iron ore business to Asian markets.  The ship will also train a number of South African cadets  for around six months.

Atsuo Asano, Managing Executive Officer of K-Line, said: “We are pleased that Vuka Marine has been launched successfully and look forward to working with our South African partners to grow the business.”

South Africa’s status as a maritime nation had been undermined by its lack of a merchant fleet.  The local operators can now competitively take over most of the 95% of South Africa’s international trade moving through the   foreign shipowners and seafarers.

It is a historic moment for South Africa and for Anglo American and Kumba Iron Ore to be the Cape Orchid’s first customer, dispatching a cargo of 170,000 tonnes of iron ore to China.  The decline in its merchant fleet since the mid-1990s was reversed through initiatives such as Government’s Operation Phakisa which has prioritised the attraction of ships onto the national register as a key aspect of achieving job growth and economic development in South Africa’s Ocean Economy.  The value in South Africa’s mining industry will be enhanced when South African shipping companies, using South African ships offer globally competitive pricing and services.

 Source: Anglo American South Africa

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