By rigorously ensuring safe operation, the MOL Group is working to prevent marine pollution caused by marine accidents. At the same time, the Group is taking into consideration biodiversity and actively pushing ahead with measures to protect the seas and oceans, which are not only our place of business, but also the shared heritage of everyone on Earth.
We have adopted double-hull vessels in our tanker fleet in order to prevent spills of crude oil, petroleum products, and chemicals caused by a grounding or collision of vessels.
All vessels carry fuel for their voyages. Therefore, in the same way as with tankers, we have pushed the adoption of double-hull fuel tanks in order to reduce the risk of oil leaking into the ocean in the event of an accident.
In a world-first, MOL adopted highly ductile steel plate NSafe®-HULL, developed by Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, for a newbuilding vessel. NSafe®-HULL plates absorb side impact to the hull three times more effectively than conventional steel plates, thereby reducing the risk of cracks in the hull and significantly increasing the safety of the vessel. For the new vessel, use of NSafe®-HULL for the sections such as the side plates of cargo holds and fuel tanks, where hull strength is especially critical, will improve puncture resistance to help prevent flooding, protect cargo, and prevent serious oil leakage damage to the marine environment.
The MOL Group's activities could have an impact on biodiversity in the following ways:
MOL works to develop and adopt technologies to minimize the impact of vessels on biodiversity. Furthermore, when constructing buildings on shores or the coast, MOL conducts impact assessments with project partners. Moreover, MOL rigorously conducts green procurement and recycling in offices. To raise the awareness of employees regarding protection of biodiversity and the natural environment, MOL makes use of in-house communications tools and participates in activities that protect the natural environment.
MOL supports and adheres to the Declaration of Biodiversity by the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), and participates as a "Promotion Partner" to clarify this commitment internally and publicly.
Nippon Keidanren's Declaration of Biodiversity (Summary)
Transfer of Aquatic Organism via Ballast Water
Ballast water, which is discharged while loading cargo, carries marine organisms around the world and can have a negative impact on marine ecosystems and biodiversity. Accordingly, IMO adopted the Ballast Water Management Convention in February 2004, and its ratification is under way. MOL developed a ballast water treatment system in cooperation with manufacturers. As of May 31, we have installed the system on a total of 57 ships-25 newbuildings and 32 in-service vessels.
Ballast Water Treatment System Installed on a VLCC
In April 2013, MOL announced completion of work to install a ballast water treatment system on a very large crude oil carrier (VLCC). MOL is the first Japanese shipping company to install such a system on an existing VLCC. In case of an oil tanker, most of the ballast water treatment system is required to be installed in the pump room, which is very narrow and small, and thus requires very high levels of safety and process management.
Ballast Water Treatment System
MOL developed the technology to install a packaged container ballast water treatment system that can fit in the cargo hold of a containership, and acquired approval in concept from ClassNK for the first time in Japan. The system is packaged in a 40-foot container (about 12m long) with all necessary equipment, and designed for easy accessibility and maintenance. Installation time is reduced by about seven days, compared to installing a system in the engine room. We installed the system on some of our containerships, and are conducting demonstration tests.
Marine organisms attaching to the bottom of vessels due to the fouling of ship bottom paint and crossing borders is also an issue in the industry. The IMO is discussing guidelines to prevent this. MOL is expressing its views on practicality and other aspects through industry groups to contribute to the process of creating international guidelines.
Aged vessels need to be scrapped from the viewpoints of both safe operation and marine environmental protection. In May 2009, the IMO adopted the Hong Kong International Convention, which sets objectives for solving issues related to vessel scrapping, and is moving toward ratification. This convention prohibits and limits the content of stipulated harmful substances aboard throughout the life of the vessel and requires to create, maintain, and update an inventory list including the amounts of harmful substances and their locations aboard, and to provide that list when handing the vessel over to a recycling yard.
Currently, the MOL Group was one of the first to start providing these inventory lists to ensure a smoother response to the requirements of the convention. We also provide thorough explanations of the convention's requirements, and share information related to recycling as well as conditions in recycling yards.