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IMAGE GALLERY: The Cape Orchid arrives in Saldanha Bay

The Cape Orchid arrived at Saldanha Bay in South Africa last month to transport a cargo of iron ore from Anglo American’s Kumba Iron Ore business to Asian markets.

At over 300 metres long, the Japanese-built bulk carrier is the first merchant vessel to be registered under the South African flag since 1985, 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.

Vuka Marine currently has two South African flagged, cape-size vessels – the Cape Orchid and the Cape Enterprise.

A historic moment

While in Saldanha Bay, the Cape Orchid took on a number of South African cadets, who will sail with the ship for around six months as part of their officer training programme.

Andrew Mthembu, chairman of Vuka Marine, said that it is important for South Africa to attract ships onto its register to improve job creation and training prospects for South African seafarers. Mthembu also paid tribute to the Finance Ministry, which was responsible for enabling the requisite legislation for companies like Vuka Marine to be globally competitive.

Norman Mbazima, chief executive officer of Kumba Iron Ore and deputy chairman of Anglo American South Africa, said: “We are proud to be witnessing this 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 our customers in China. Vuka Marine has achieved a key milestone for this country and we look forward to a strong partnership as it is through partnerships of this nature that we are able to support job creation and the growth of South Africa’s economy.”

Read the full press release here.

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