MOL launches virtual ship visits app

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Japanese ship operator Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has announced the release of the “Fleet Tour” virtual ship visit application using the Ricoh Theta, a 360-degree camera and the Theta 360.biz a virtual tour production service, both from Japan’s Ricoh Company.

The release of the App is part III of the FOCUS Project, following the “Fleet Viewer” application launched in May 2019, which monitors vessel operation data, and the “Fleet Performance” application that tracks vessel performance released in February this year.

With the new App, Ship management companies and operators can browse 360-degree onboard images and videos from anywhere using PCs and smart phones, and intuitively experience various places on the ship as if they were visiting in person. MOL Ship Management, an MOL Group bulker management company, has already adopted the application in a move to enhance the quality of their ship management services.

The MOL Group works to enhance safe operation by comparing fixed points in important areas such as the deck, cargo holds, and the engine room, and horizontally developing group-wide expertise and marine engineering know-how through addition of special notes on photographic images, in cooperation with MOLSHIP and other ship management companies that are familiar onboard operations and procedures.

MOL Group land-based employees have limited opportunities to visit all areas onboard giant vessels over 300m long, especially in relatively short in-person visits. This makes it hard to intuitively grasp the ship structure through drawings and conventional planar images. But the “Fleet Tour” application addresses such issues. In addition, the MOL Group expects this to be particularly effective as an ICT-based approach to vessel inspection, considering the difficulty of conducting in-person ship visits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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