MOL Leads Subsea Drone Demonstration


Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has announced a new partnership with Sekido Co. and MOL Marine Co. to test the use of a Remotely Operated Subsea Vehicle (ROV).

According to a statement, the ROV will be used to inspect submerged areas of the hull on one of MOL Marine’s cable-laying ships.

The fouling of outboard equipment and vessel bottoms could have a negative impact on vessel operation, leading to reduced speeds and higher fuel consumption, which requires such parts to be periodically inspected and cleaned.

Read a PTI Insight: Terminal Drones: Game-Changing or Hot Air?

While divers are able to conduct these inspections, MOL has stated that adverse weather and sea conditions often affect the work, increasing costs and the time taken to inspect the ship.

Sekido has published a video to show the images captured by the vehicle during the test inspection.



The demonstration of the ROV has certified the viability of checking for faults and damage to submerged outboard equipment using underwater drones, as well as the status of damage to ship bottoms.

Participants in the test have confirmed the operability of the subsea ROV and the precision of the video images, in addition to verifying the efficiency, safety and reliability of the technology as an alternative method of inspection.

A further statement from MOL read: “MOL continually adopts new technologies in a proactive manner to make ship maintenance and management more efficient and promote safe vessel operation.”

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