Tokyo based Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) along with Tokyo Keiki have carried out a test to determine the performance of its autopilot route control function, the advanced control for ecology (ACE).

The test conducted onboard a vessel which is operational had indicated an energy saving of about 1.5%.

ACE is MOL’s attempt to incorporate technologies to reduce the environmental impact exerted by the fleet on the sea and enhance the safety and reliability of its transport services.

The technology assesses the potential impact exerted by the wind and tide by setting the vessel’s course direction and control the helm of the ship to help prevent a deviation from the pre-determined route and subsequently decrease the number of course changes required during a voyage.

A reduced possibility of change of route of the ship is said to pave the way for reductions in fuel consumption when compared to the result of a similar vessel utilising the traditional control system.

"The test conducted onboard a vessel which is operational had indicated an energy saving of about 1.5%."

Big data from the operational vessels has been acquired by MOL with an aim to develop a comprehensive vessel operation support network which will improve the operational safety, render the vessel more environment friendly and augmenting its overall efficiency.

An analysis of the data was obtained by MOL and Tokyo Keiki from fleet monitor, which is incorporated into the vessel, as a part of the big data initiative.

The fleet monitor, engineered by Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, is a vessel operation monitoring system which is leveraged as an Internet-based ship-to-shore integrated information infrastructure system that shares information of the vessel operation with the offices operating on land.

Last month, MOL along with Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) subsidiary Ship Data Centre launched the trial usage of onboard data transmission and accumulation for its operated vessels.

Image: Comparison of the conventional control system and the new route control system using ACE. Photo: courtesy of Mitsui O.S.K Lines.