Friday, January 22, 2010

MOL Unveils New Innovations To Assist Shipping

Japanese Company Continues to Develop New Ideas
Shipping News Feature

JAPAN – Japanese shipping line Mitsui O.S.K. (MOL) have given details of their latest R&D projects that they hope will make useful additions to the global shipping industry in terms of greater efficiency for operations and improved environmental benefits.

The first development is a joint research and development project between MOL, Nippon Paint Marine Coatings Co. and Nippon Paint Co. Ltd. to develop new anti-fouling paints that offer reduced water resistance, thus adding vessels fuel efficiency.

MOL states that the development of ‘super-slick’ marine paints will greatly reduce the resistance of a ships hull through the water, with drag from seawater accounting for 50% to 80% of all resistance and thus being a major contributor to greater fuel use.

The use of these paints is projected to reduce CO2 emissions by between eight and twelve percent in comparison to conventional antifouling mixtures.

MOL has also given details of a second project that it believes could also be of great benefit in improving times that vessels spend in loading and unloading.

In combination with Musashino Co. Ltd. they have developed what they claim is the world’s first portable liquid-level gauge for vessel ballast tanks. This measures the level of ballast water (seawater) in a tank by detecting changes in air pressure.

According to MOL: “Vessels add seawater to their ballast tanks when discharging cargo, and pump it out when loading cargo. This helps to control the balance of the hull and ensure its stability. To prevent air from entering the ballast pump during the final stages of discharging ballast water, it is essential to measure the level of ballast water remaining in the tank.

“Conventional measurement using a sounding tape is complex and time-consuming, requiring several crew members. Use of this new liquid-level gauge makes it quick and easy to check the levels of many ballast tanks, improving efficiency and enhancing the safety of loading/discharging operations.”

The new gauge means that crewmen can measure a ballast tank in as little as 10-15 seconds, making preparation for getting underway much simpler, safer and quicker, which in turn leads to faster turn around.

(pic: The new gauge in action)