Saturday, January 7, 2012

MOL Rush to Aid Typhoon Victims (and Order New Bulk Freight Vessel)

Yet Another Harrowing Disaster to End the Year
Shipping News Feature

PHILIPPINES – JAPAN - In late December the eyes of much of the Western world were focused only on forthcoming Christmas celebrations and so, at the end of a year dogged by tragedy, many did not even notice the horrors occurring across the other side of the world. Fortunately this did not apply in Asia and now container and bulk freight shipping group Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) have revealed the part they played in trying to assuage the problems there.

Just over a week before festivities began Typhoon Washi (locally called Sendong)hit the Southern Philippines leaving a trail of devastation and a death toll which was well over 700 at the last count with may people still unaccounted for. Most of the dead were children and the tragedy has left whole villages destroyed. Anyone touched by the story of this disaster can donate directly to the Philippine Red Cross HERE.

Coincidently a Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) team, were engaged in the islands to assess emergency health needs in an area which has been the scene of an armed struggle for some time when the typhoon struck. The team immediately reprioritised and went to assist in stricken region. Just a month previously a separate MSC team had visited the Bulacan province, north of Manila, after a previous typhoon struck (Washi was the nineteenth tropical storm to hit the Philippines in 2011).

For their part MOL once again showed how the shipping industry always seems to be willing to help in these situations when, upon receiving a request for transport of emergency aid supplies from the Philippines Social Welfare Development, it swiftly assigned the Spirit of MOL, which was on a training voyage near the Philippines, to call at the Port of Manila. The vessel is a training vessel of just under 5,000 dwt and helps in the instruction of cadet seafarers in safe, efficient vessel operation which previously received a request for ocean transport of aid supplies from the Philippine Government and contributed to relief efforts and cleanup activities in the aftermath of Typhoon Frank, a major storm that hit the Philippines in June 2008.

This time the Spirit of MOL carried supplies provided by MOL, its group staffing company Magsaysay MOL Marine Inc. and the Philippine government and delivered aid supplies to Misamis Oriental Province on Mindanao Island. In Manila the ship was laden with aid supplies such as rice, clothing and blankets donated by the MOL Group, in addition to items provided by the government such as drinking water, food, medical supplies, and so on, and then departed the port on the 29th December.

The Spirit of MOL reached the Port of Cagayan de Oro near the disaster area on New Years Day and unloaded the supplies the following day. After that, Captain Ponnappa and trainees distributed the supplies directly to the people affected, and helped with cleanup efforts at a school damaged by the typhoon.

In other news MOL announced this week that it has ordered new cape-size bulker vessel which will be built by the Universal Shipbuilding Corporation of Japan (USC) utilising the concept for the ISHIN-III series of next-generation vessels (large-scale iron ore carriers) announced in April 2010 which we reviewed at the time with the new ship planned for completion in late 2014.

The newly designed ship should outperform conventional cape size bulkers by 20% in terms of efficiency incorporating as it does a steam turbine that generates electric power using exhaust heat from the engine which also assists propulsion and a hybrid power generation system to convert rotational force from the supercharger into electric power.