By Charlie Bartlett, technology editor
Japanese shipping company MOL (Mitsui O.S.K. Lines) has announced plans to equip its newbuild ro-ro vessels with an innovative AI-driven system for early fire detection. The move comes as a response to the alarming increase in fire incidents that have been destroying car-carriers recently. MOL aims to prevent such incidents by implementing this cutting-edge technology in its fleet.
MOL has suffered a significant loss in the past with the catastrophic fire that engulfed its car carrier, Felicity Ace. The vessel was transporting lithium battery electric vehicles (EVs) and had a cryogenic tank of pressurized LNG on board. This incident has highlighted the urgent need for more effective fire detection and prevention systems within the maritime industry.
Captain’s Eye, an Israeli company specializing in AI technology, claims to have developed a state-of-the-art system that can detect fires by analyzing abnormal images captured by cameras installed throughout a vessel. Operating 24/7, this cloud-based system can identify the presence of smoke even before it reaches a conventional smoke detector, enabling earlier warnings and faster response time.
MOL plans to install the AI-based system on ten LNG-fueled vessels that are scheduled for delivery starting from 2024. Additionally, the company is considering retrofitting its existing fleet with this cutting-edge technology.
Founded in 2020, Captain’s Eye initially focused on developing AI-enabled CCTV monitoring for super-yachts and then expanded its reach to the commercial maritime sector. The company has also developed systems for detecting leaks in engine rooms, further demonstrating its dedication to improving safety in the shipping industry.
With mounting concerns about the fire risks associated with EVs, manufacturers emphasize that EVs do not have a higher incidence of fires compared to traditional internal combustion engine cars. However, the presence of EVs on car carriers does introduce an additional level of risk. In response, MOL’s decision to implement an AI-based fire detection system will provide enhanced safety measures and help prevent future incidents.
Q: What has prompted MOL to install an AI-driven fire detection system on its ro-ro vessels?
A: The increasing number of fires destroying car-carriers, including the catastrophic fire on MOL’s Felicity Ace, has prompted MOL to implement innovative technology for early fire detection.
Q: How does the AI-based system detect fires?
A: The system analyzes abnormal images captured by cameras throughout a vessel to identify the presence of smoke early on, enabling faster response time.
Q: Will MOL retrofit its existing fleet with this technology?
A: MOL is considering retrofitting its existing fleet with the AI-based system, in addition to installing it on its newbuild ro-ro vessels.
Q: Which company developed the AI-driven fire detection system?
A: Captain’s Eye, an Israeli company specializing in AI technology, developed the system for early fire detection on vessels.
Q: What other safety systems has Captain’s Eye developed?
A: Captain’s Eye also specializes in developing AI-enabled CCTV monitoring systems for super-yachts and leak detection systems for engine rooms.