South Africa has welcomed the first cargo ship to be registered under the country’s flag, the Cape Orchid, owned by Vuka Marine, a South African joint venture company between Via Maritime Holdings and Japanese firm K-Line.
The Cape Orchid is the first merchant vessel to have been added to the South African register since 1985 and the first to be registered under the Ship Registration Act of 1998.
The South Africa’s Department of Transport, supported by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) helped in facilitating negotiations for acquiring the vessel, SAMSA informed.
According to Vuka Marine CEO, Andrew Millard, another vessel, the Cape Enterprise would be registered next week.
The registration was celebrated on board Cape Orchid while at the port of Saldanha, Western Cape.
The registration of the vessel was hailed as highly significant by both Government and the private sector, against the backdrop of the country’s renewed campaign under Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) to grow, expand and align the maritime economic sector into the country’s main economy, SAMSA said.
Officials attending the celebration included Transport Minister Dipuo Peters and her deputy, Sindisiwe Chikunga, senior management from the SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Portnet, Vuka Marine, K-Line as well as Anglo American’s Kumba Iron Ore Mining Company.
“This registration is among the intended outcomes of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) engagement to increase trade and co-operation. We are intend on increasing the number of South African ships on the register,” Tseitsie Mokhele, CEO for SAMSA said.
According to Mokhele, via this move the government, through SAMSA, wanted to stimulate the maritime industry for employment creation purposes, and growing and developing the maritime economy.