MOL installing new smart steering gear on VLCC newbuild

In its latest push to develop so-called smart ships, Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), one of the world’s largest shipowners, has teamed up with compatriot shipbuilder Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) to work on technologies that enhance vessel reliability and energy-saving operations by an enhanced vessel steering gear with new sensing capabilities and big data analysis.

The project focuses on control of the steering gear. A new system will be installed on a very large crude carrier (VLCC), which is under construction at KHI and slated for delivery to MOL. It is intended to develop KHI-made steering gear equipped with sensors that monitor pressure, flow rate, temperature of hydraulic oil, consumed power and so on, and high-speed data acquisition systems. The high-speed data acquisition system collects not only data from the steering gear, but also other  types of data, such as vessel speed, course, engine load and rudder angle, during a voyage. In-depth analysis of this data will lead to improvements in vessel reliability and energy-saving operation. The project is expected to complete by the end of March 2021.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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