South Africa’s ship registry has welcomed the first vessel to the country’s commercial fleet since 1985, with another to be registered within the coming weeks.
The capesize Cape Orchid (172,600 dwt, built 2001; pictured) officially registered in South Africa on August 1, according to Equasis, and has just commenced its first voyage under the flag. South Africa’s Department of Transport negotiated the vessel’s registration, with support from SAMSA.
Cape Orchid‘s registered owner is Vuka Marine, which is a joint venture between South Africa’s Via Maritime Holdings (South Africa) and Japan’s K Line, which has had the vessel on a three-year bareboat charter since January 2013.
Another vessel, Cape Enterprise (185,900 dwt, built 2003) will also be registered in South Africa in the coming weeks, according to press reports. The vessel is operated by Japan’s K Line and owned by Taiyo Nippon Kisen, Equasis states.
“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 the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), said in a statement.
Cape Orchid commenced its first voyage under the South African flag on Friday, when it departed Saldanha Bay with a cargo of iron ore bound for Asia. Three South African cadets are currently onboard and will conclude their sea time aboard the bulker.
The Department of Transport said vessel’s voyage represented “a transformation milestone in South Africa’s shipping and maritime industry”.
“About 98% of the country’s internationally-bound trade is carried by ships and at least R160bn ($11.5bn) a year is paid for shipping services to foreign owners and operators,” said Mokhele, who hopes that building up South Africa’s shipping registry would help change this.