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Initiatives on Safe Operation(1)

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MOL Safety Standard Specifications

With the goal of effectively maintaining the safety of our operated vessels, MOL formulated the first edition of the MOL Safety Standard Specifications in the aftermath of serious marine incidents in 2006, and since then has been revising it accordingly. Serious incidents such as collisions and groundings, fires, sinking and loss of hull stability, oil spills, and other environmental pollution can have a huge impact on both society at large and the group's profitability, not to mention the loss of trust from customers and other stakeholders. In FY2016, we decided to expand the scope of the specifications to include workplace accidents.

Out of the 68 items(*) composing the specifications, we introduce primary ones here.
(*)As of Oct 2016

MOL Standards systematically compile knowledge and expertise-gained through many years of experience in ship operation-related to countermeasures for issues such as inferior quality oil, which inhibits ship operation, maintenance procedures, and policies and practices that contribute to life saving, security, and environmental protection, after technical and economic analysis.

Some of these countermeasures are as follows.

Countermeasure 1 : MOL Integrated Bridge
The bridge is the nerve center of a merchant ship. MOL has adopted the "integrated bridge" approach, which clarifies the bridge position of officers on duty and ensures their traffic flow and communication lines by integrating instruments and gauges in one central location. In addition, they can obtain updates on ever-changing conditions surrounding the vessel more quickly than with a standard bridge layout, allowing them to make swifter, better decisions regarding vessel operating safety.

  • Officers can see 360° around the vessel, enhancing visual watch-keeping.
  • Traffic flow and communication lines of the officers on duty can be secured without inhibiting the forward visibility of the helmsman. Everyone on duty – the captain, pilots, and officers can independently operate and monitor nautical gauges and instruments, strengthening Bridge Resource Management (BRM)(*).
  • Integration of nautical gauges and instruments also allows their wiring to be integrated. This helps prevent a reoccurrence of a past incident in which wires to nautical instruments burned out.

*BRM:Bridge Resource Management (BRM)
BRM prevents human errors or remedies the effects of those errors at an early stage. The concept is based on making the best use of human resources (captain, officers, and other crewmembers on deck) and resources such as information available on the bridge.

Countermeasure 2 : Introduction of Iridium Satellite Mobile Phones
MOL verified the effectiveness of iridium satellite mobile phones as a backup to existing telecommunication equipment when an engine room fire resulted in an electric power outage on an MOL Group-managed vessel. MOL Safety Standard Specifications now call for iridium satellite mobile phones for telecommunications backup to ensure smooth communication in case of an emergency. The company decided to retrofit existing vessels with iridium satellite mobile phones in addition to installing them on newbuilding vessels.

Countermeasure 3 : Quick Release System for Anchor Chain
MOL experienced a serious marine incident in 2006 involving the iron ore carrier Giant Step, which went aground and sank. In the midst of the process that led to the incident, the anchor chain connecting to the hull was underwater and could not be released quickly. This was one of the factors that greatly worsened the situation.

Based on this bitter experience, we introduced a quick release system for our vessels' anchor chains. When the anchor cannot be winched aboard by the windlass, or when there is no time to winch the anchor and anchor chain aboard, the quick release system lets the vessel drop the anchor chain by quickly releasing the connection between the anchor chain and the hull to free the vessel, ensuring the safety of the ship and saving lives.

Countermeasure 4 : Security Cameras in the Engine Rooma
Security cameras in the engine room are set to monitor the equipment that supplies the main engine and generator with fuel. They are also placed along the evacuation route from the engine room. The cameras help us accurately assess the situation when a fire occurs, secure the safety of crewmembers during fire extinguishing operations and evacuation, and ensure early detection of oil leakage or equipment failure to prevent incidents from occurring. And, by reviewing the security camera footage after the fact, we can determine the reasons and causes of the incident and develop measures to prevent a reoccurrence.

Countermeasure 5 : Engine Room: High Expansion Foam Fire Extinguishing System
The foam extinguisher is a system that fills the engine room with a massive amount of foam to put out fires. In the past, engine rooms were filled with CO2 gas to fully extinguish fires, but if there are any crewmembers in the engine room, they may not be able to exit quickly enough and run the risk of oxygen deprivation. Or air could be pumped back into the engine room if the air vent for the engine room is not closed properly, and the fire will not be extinguished as quickly. To eliminate such risks, the engine rooms of all MOL Group vessels have foam fire aextinguishing systems as standard equipment.

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Working Closely with Shipyards

There are three shipbuilding supervisors’ duties at a shipyard: ①quality management, ②process control, and ③Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) management.

Quality management verifies that shipyards reliably meet required specifications that contribute to safe operation, rules for each ship type, and other requirements.

Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) management ensures the safety of employees onboard, for example, establishing safety rules prohibiting crewmembers from entering an enclosed space alone, or requiring them to must warn each other when they encounter unsafe behavior onboard.

MOL assigns two to three personnel – marine engineers from the group company and MOL engineering personnel - to the shipyard during the construction of a vessel. They work on-site at the shipyard for one to two years from the initial stage (about a month after steel cutting) to the completion of the vessel.

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