Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) announced the introduction of the Vessel View VR, a virtual reality system that allows for virtual visits on the VLCC Suzukasan (delivered on October 12, 2018). This is the second vessel, following the car carrier Beluga Ace to feature this innovative technology. “Vessel View VR” combines “VR Solution,” developed by NURVE, Inc., with 360° (degree) photos and videos taken at various areas onboard.
The Suzukasan can transport about 300,000 tons of crude oil in a single voyage. It takes a long time to visit every area on this huge vessel-339.5m long and 60m wide. As a vessel carrying dangerous goods, safety rules are strict, particularly on deck, where any open flame and even electronic devices are prohibited. That makes it all the more difficult to keep records of everything during an in-person visit. In addition, there are a fewer opportunities to visit the ship because it plies extremely long voyage.
Use of “Vessel View VR”, which enables a virtual ship visit “anytime and anywhere,” not only eases the limits of conventional ship visits, but also allows for safe ship visits, even on vessels carrying dangerous goods.
|Restrictions in Conventional Visits||Vessel View VR|
|Capacity of visitors per visit||The number of visitors a vessel can accept||In principle, no limit, assuming visitors have an internet connection and proper log-in privileges|
|Arrangement for ship visit||An individual application for each visitor must be submitted ahead of time to the chief customs inspector|
|Required time for ship visit||A round trip to calling port and physically boarding the vessel|
|Timing of ship visit||Limited to a short time during port calls and while in a dockyard, and subject to weather conditions|
|Location of ship visit||Mainly at calling ports|
|Communication during ship visit||Noise from machinery in engine room and so on can make it difficult for visitors to listen to explanations|
|Safety during ship visit||Necessity to ensure the safety of visitors during ship visits, as well as the safety of the vessels, crewmembers, and loaded cargoes.|
|Burden of ship side||Onboard visits add more tasks to the workload, in addition to normal operations such as loading/ unloading, preparation for voyage, and ship inspections|
MOL works continually to enhance the contents of such virtual visits to provide customers with more effective explanations of its vessel’s capabilities and to promote improved training and a higher safety consciousness among employees, as it strives to become the world leader in safe operation.