MOL announced plans to build new car carriers that will greatly reduce the risk of oil spills. The move is part of a company-wide effort to ensure safe operation and protect the environment. The company plans to build 12 car carriers for launch between 2004 and 2006. Each of the ships will accommodate about 6,400 standard passenger cars. The vessels will be built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Minaminippon Shipbuilding, Shin Kurushima Dockyard, and Imabari Shipbuilding.
Car carriers typically have more than 10 decks where vehicles are stowed. MOLís new car carriers are designed with the fuel tanks located in the double hull, on what would be the bottom or 12th car deck on a conventional car carrier. This reduces the risk of a fuel spill in case of an accident or grounding. In addition, by placing the ballast tank in the lowest point of the ship, this design enhances stability, which is critical for car carriers, which are very susceptible to wind resistance. Whatís more, this location of the ballast tank frees up more room for cargo space in 11th car deck, allowing the ships to accommodate more vehicles than conventional car carriers of the same size. MOL and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have applied for a patent on the new design. The first of the ships is scheduled for completion on July 31, 2004 at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe Shipyard. It will measure 199m long, 32.26m wide, 34.52m deep and has a displacement of 61,000 gross tons.