Vessels Serving Specialized Fields

This section introduces some of the MOL Group's most highly specialized vessels.

— Setting the Standard in the Transport of Heavy, Long, and Oversized Cargoes —
  • Heavy lifters are vessels specially designed to carry heavyweight cargoes weighing more than 30 tons each, such as plant components, large construction machinery, and even shinkansen bullet train cars. The cargo hold is box-shaped with few protrusions, and has a wide hatch on deck for ease of cargo loading and unloading. What's more, the cargo hold can be divided into upper and lower sections with a strong, movable partition. This configuration gives the vessel the flexibility to handle almost any cargo. A large item that cannot fit in the cargo hold is carried on the deck which is reinforced for optimum strength. Heavy lifters are also equipped with powerful cranes, so they can load and unload heavyweight cargoes on their own. To ensure the vessel's stability during loading and unloading operations, these vessels are designed with high-volume ballast tanks on both sides.


  • A heavy lifter loading a shinkansen bullet train car


— These Hard-working Boats Keep Marine Traffic Moving —
  • Tugboats are used to push or pull vessels or structures on the water. Their sizes vary depending on the task. The most common type of tugboat, called a harbor tug, helps large vessels berth and unberth. Harbor tugs are generally in the 150-ton to 200-ton class. Oceangoing tugs, which tow huge cargoes such as plant equipment in the open sea, range up to several thousand tons.

    Tugs are equipped with immensely powerful engines because they have to move vessels and equipment much larger than themselves. Harbor tugs also have azimuth thruster propellers that can rotate 360° and allow the boat to maneuver in tight quarters. Used tires and rubber fenders are placed around the tug to prevent damage when the tug comes into direct contact with a ship during operation.


A tugboat guides an LNG carrier into port

— Laying and Maintaining Submarine Optical Cables in the Internet Age —
  • Cable ships lay, repair, and pick up submarine optical cables. These ships have to maintain a fixed position during operation, regardless of wind and wave motion, so they are equipped with a Dynamic Position System (DPS) to keep them in the correct spot.

    Onboard features of cable ships include a cable tank where the cable is kept, a drum cable engine that rolls the cable up and down, a linear cable engine that lays the cable at high speed, and an undersea robot used to lay, inspect, and repair the cable. The deck is used as an operation space. The ship also has a cable control room, allowing safe, continuous onscreen monitoring of cable operations.


Cable ship (source: Kokusai Cable Ship Co., Ltd.)

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