Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) unit Ferry Sunflower has launched its new large-scale vessel at the Nanko Sunflower Terminal in Osaka Prefecture, Japan.

Named Sunflower Kirishima, the ferry was loaded with passengers and sailed to the Port of Shibushi in Kagoshima Prefecture during the launch.

The vessel has been designed to accommodate 20% more trucks compared with the old Sunflower Kirishima.

The 13,659t vessel is 192m-long and 27m-wide. With a 6.8m draft, the vessel can cruise at a speed of 23k.

“The shift in the mode of transportation is also expected to help reduce environmental footprint and address the shortage of truck drivers.”

Powered by two 8,830kW main engines, Sunflower Kirishima is designed to accommodate 709 passengers and 121 large trucks.

Along with its sister ferry Sunflower Satsuma, which was launched in May, Sunflower Kirishima is expected to replace the long-distance transportation of goods and passengers by truck with ocean transport by ferries.

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The shift in the mode of transportation is also expected to help reduce environmental footprint and address the shortage of truck drivers.

It also aims to act as a vital link in the logistics chain connecting the Kansai and Kyushu regions in Japan.

Sunflower Kirishima also features an increased number of private cabins with showers, vanity spaces and toilets, as well as a large and open entrance lobby comprising a three-floor atrium, a restaurant and public baths, and suite rooms.

Ferry Sunflower primarily provides general passenger liner service and has offices in various locations across Japan, including Osaka, Kobe, Oita, Beppu, Shibushi, Kagoshima and Tokyo.