MOL readies use of robots onboard

Seafarers working for Japan’s largest shipping line might have further pause for thought about the long term future of their jobs following the latest news from Tokyo today.

Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), which has invested more than most lines in research and development of autonomous shipping, is now gearing up to use robots onboard its ships.

MOL has signed a memorandum of understanding with local cyborg specialist MELTIN for the installation of remotely controlled robots on its ships.

“Issues facing the shipping business include not only prevention of marine accidents and ensuring safe operation, but also improving transport quality to more effectively meet customer needs. Therefore, it is becoming more and more important for the industry to take a mid- and long-term viewpoint in finding solutions by adopting new technologies such as autonomous navigation and remote control,” MOL stated in a release today.

MOL said robots were likely to be used in dangerous areas onboard as well as handling time-consuming work or duties done in extremely high and low-temperature environments.

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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