Organization to support Safe Operation
The MOL Operational Safety Committee, deliberates basic policies, countermeasures, and other items aimed at ensuring the secure and completely safe operation of MOL- and MOL Group-operated vessels, and makes decisions on safety-related measures.
- Operational Safety Committee;
- As a subordinate organ of the Executive Committee, examines and discusses matters related to safe operation, and thoroughly ensures safe operation of vessels.
- Chairman: Mitsuo Tanimoto (Managing Executive Officer/Chief Safety Officer)
- Safety Operations Headquarters;
- As an organization directly under the Management Committee consisting of the following divisions and organizations, plan and implement measures for company-wide safe operaation.
- Marine Safety Division
- Global Maritime Resources Division
- Offshore Technical Division
- Smart Shipping Division
- Marine Technical Management Division
- Liquefied Gas Ship Management Strategies Division
- Ship management companies (MOL Ship Management Co., Ltd. and MOL LNG Transport Co., Ltd.)
Safety Operation Supporting Center
History and Role of the Safety Operation Support Center
Four serious marine incidents occurred in 2006 on ships operated by our company. After the accident, the cause of the accident was thoroughly investigated, and the Safe Operation Support Center (Safety Operation Supporting Center: SOSC) was established in February 2007 with the motto, "Don't leave the captain alone," as an organization with functions of a help desk, supporting the ships from shore 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Currently, two people, including the captain on duty, monitor the movements of our company vessels, eliminate marine accidents caused by weather and sea conditions, and promptly implement security measures (such as piracy) and initial responses to marine accidents (including earthquakes and tsunamis). MOL Group vessels navigate oceans all over the world. Not only in bad weather situations such as winter storms, hurricanes and typhoons, and frozen river ports, but also in places like the Middle East, where political situations can be volatile, we must always be ready to take appropriate measures. We also go where there is a risk of the occurrence of wars, terrorism, and piracy. In other words, we must appropriately address myriad situations on a daily basis.
In recent years, it has become necessary to respond to unexpected and rapid deterioration of sea conditions and weather caused by abnormal weather. Cooperation between land and sea is becoming increasingly important in response to various risks associated with the deteriorating international situation.
SOSC goes beyond the boundaries of the operating department and comprehensively captures the latest location of all vessels in operation, weather information, and other risks that affect safe operation in real time. SOSC supports the captains and operators to make correct decisions by providing necessary information to the vessels and related land departments. With the lessons learned from past accidents in mind, we are making every effort to prevent serious accidents in order to become the world leader in safe operation.
- Sea Ice /Icebergs
- (Surrounding Newfoundland/Sea of Okhotsk)
The SPIRIT system uses color-coding to designate the number of icebergs in an icy sea area. Areas with the greatest number are displayed in dark red. Iceberg warning areas (the area surrounded by a light blue line in the image below) is set based on latest iceberg information gained from our contract weather company twice a day throughout a year, to alert our vessels to avoid these waters. In addition, iceberg warning areas are automatically set in the system from December through March every year, and SOSC provides that information, alerting our operated vessels.
- Frozen River Ports
- From December through March of every year, we obtain freezing information of river ports such as the Great Lakes and Baltic Sea from our contract weather company. SPIRIT sets iceberg alert areas in river ports at risk of freezing. SOSC provides that information, alerting concerned vessels and parties on land.
- When an earthquake with an intensity of 6.5 or more occurs, SOSC confirms the safety of all vessels anchored in areas considered at risk by phone and email. In case a tsunami is detected, SPIRIT displays ports that may be affected, and vessels positioned within 200 miles of those ports, in flashing red. In addition, tsunami information is distributed to all our operated vessels at once.
- Stormy Weather in Winter
- In both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, stormy weather areas can occur due to low pressure systems developing during the winter, and the seas get rough. SPIRIT displays areas with high waves in red, and updates areas to watch for every 24 hours. Vessels that may enter these areas (orange) are displayed in orange, and the latest information on stormy weather is automatically distributed to concerned vessels. SOSC checks and monitors the movement of vessels at risk of encountering stormy weather.
- Missile Test-firing and Rocket Launch Information
- We have a system to receive preliminary reports by email when a missile is test-fired. SOSC promptly confirms the safety of concerned vessels by phone and email. Trajectories of missiles are designated in the system based on the past missile landing information. In case we acquire firing information ahead of time, we provide that information and alert our operated vessels.
In addition, when we acquired information regarding a rocket launching, SOSC sets the target area in SPIRIT (partially set automatically), alerting vessels in the area and concerned parties on land.
- (Northwest Pacific Ocean)
The names of tropical storms change depending on the area where they occur and the force of their winds. Storms occurring in the Northwest Pacific Ocean (north of the Equator and west from 180 degrees east longitude) with maximum wind speeds of 34 knots or more, are called typhoons. Using SPIRIT, we can check the latest typhoon information and predictive models in each country every three hours. Vessels that may be affected by typhoons are displayed in red, and typhoon information is automatically distributed to concerned vessels every six hours.
- (Indian Ocean/South Pacific Ocean)
The names of tropical storms change depending on the area where they occur and the force of their winds. Storms occurring in the Northern Indian Ocean, Southern Indian Ocean, and Southern Pacific Ocean, with maximum wind speeds of 34 knots or more, are called cyclones. Using SPIRIT, we can check the latest cyclone information and predictive models in each country every three hours. Vessels that may be affected by cyclones are displayed in red, and cyclone information is automatically distributed to concerned vessels every six hours.
- We increase our surveillance of piracy in sea area where incidents of piracy occur frequently, such as the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea. In addition to real-time AIS positioning information of vessels entering these sea areas, we have built a system that automatically detect the position of vessels using the Inmarsat satellite every hour as a backup function. SOSC designates areas at risk of piracy based on reports from our marine consulting company and information from various websites that track pirate activity, which we monitor daily. SOSC also provides that information, alerting our operated vessels within a 100-mile radius of any incident, within 48 hours of its occurrence.
- Stormy Weather Due to Periodic Winds
- (Indian Ocean/South China Ocean)
Winds that blow in a definite direction in a specific season and specific region are called periodic winds. In the summer, these winds blow from sea to continents, in the winter, from continents to sea. In the Arabian Sea, the southwest periodic wind (monsoon) occurs from June through September, and in the South China Sea, the northeast periodic wind prevails from October through May. In case stormy weather is forecasted, SOSC increases surveillance of vessels underway near the area to alert them.
- Stormy weather
- (All sea areas)
Stormy weather occurs in all sea areas, regardless of the season as low pressure areas develop. Sea areas with high waves are displayed in dark red in SPIRIT. Areas to watch out for are automatically updated every 24 hours in the system, and vessels that may enter the orange frames (alert areas) are displayed in orange during the target period. In addition, the latest weather information is emailed to concerned vessels. SOSC also checks and monitors the movement of vessels at risk of entering the alert areas.
- (Northeast Pacific Ocean/Atlantic Ocean)
The names of tropical storms vary depending on the area where they occur and the force of their winds. Storms occurring in the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and Eastern North Pacific Ocean (east from 180 degrees west longitude) with maximum wind speeds of 64 knots or more, are called hurricanes. We can check the latest hurricane information and predictive models in each country every three hours using SPIRIT. Vessels that may be affected by hurricanes are displayed in red, and updated hurricane information is automatically distributed to concerned vessels every six hours.