TOKYO – Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL; President & CEO: Takeshi Hashimoto; Headquarters: Tokyo) and MELTIN MMI Co., Ltd. (MELTIN; CEO: Masahiro Kasuya; Headquarters: Tokyo) today announced the signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) for installation of remotely controlled robots (Note 1) in ocean shipping operations, including vessels, associated businesses, and offshore businesses.

(Note 1) Image of remote-control robot

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The objective of the MoU is a joint study by MOL and MELTIN to introduce a MELTIN’s remote-control robotic technology for adoption in MOL’s ocean shipping-related operations.

Issues facing the shipping business include not only prevention of marine accidents and ensuring safe operation, but also improving transport quality to more effectively meet customer needs. Therefore, it is becoming more and more important for the industry to take a mid- and long-term viewpoint in finding solutions by adopting new technologies such as autonomous navigation and remote control. The introduction of MELTIN’s remote-control robotic technology, being developed with the assumption that it will be used in areas such as dangerous, time-consuming work or duties done in extremely high and low-temperature environments, can also help reduce the workload on seafarers, particularly in tasks that present challenges to hands-on operation.

MOL and MELTIN have repeatedly studied the possibility of addressing a wide variety of issues in the ocean shipping industry by introducing MELTIN’s technology. In addition, major advances have been made in the high-speed onboard telecommunication environment in recent years, so MOL expects synergistic effects by combining improved telecommunication with MELTIN’s remote-control robotic technology. Both companies are committed to building a strategic relationship to introduce MELTIN’s technology and proceed with more detailed and specific studies, which led to the conclusion of the MoU.

The companies will push forward more discussion and action to study details specific to different vessel types and routes for introduction of remotely controlled robots and associated technologies, with an eye toward not only determining the feasibility of introduction and the level of onboard telecommunication technology required at sea, but also implementing Proof of Concept (PoC), which assumes practical use.