MOL containership

MOL, Partners Look Into Automatic Prevention of Collisions

Japan’s shipping major Mitsui O.S.K. Lines is looking into advanced navigation support system with the aim of preventing collisions as part of its voyage towards autonomous shipping.

Illustration. Image Courtesy: Pexels under CC0 Creative Commons license

Namely, the company has, together with MOL Techno-Trade, the National Maritime Research Institute (NMRI) and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT), conducted an assessment and feasibility study on advanced navigation support systems utilizing collision avoidance algorithm.

The parties jointly undertook the study using the NMRI-owned ship handling risk simulator, which has a horizontal view angle of 240°C. The Obstacle Zone by Target (OZT) algorithm supports mariners’ ability to spot objects and determine whether they are potential risks, according to MOL.

“Conventional collision avoidance is a highly skilled process based on maritime officers’ experience and knowledge. However, by utilizing the navigation support system incorporating OZT, the vessel collision avoidance algorithm, a vessel can find an area where it can navigate safely,” MOL said.

In addition, the system’s bridge view display allows mariners to determine the positions of nearby vessels and decide which ones present risks.

Separately, MOL said that it participated in a demonstration test of ship class survey using aerial drones to inspect an MOL-operated coal carrier in service, along with ClassNK, Hitachi Systems and Mitsui.

The test included a simulated ship inspection inside the cargo hold and ballast tank using video shot from an aerial drone. The test verified the effectiveness of using drones to monitor rust, corrosion, and the presence of cracks.

“The use of drone is expected to contribute to improved operational safety and efficiency, since these processes require work to be done at great heights and in dangerous environments.”