April 20 - Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) subsidiary, Mitsui O.S.K. Kinkai (MOK), has placed an order for three 17,500 dwt multipurpose vessels from Honda Heavy Industries.

The vessels, which are equipped with two 78-tonne capacity cranes and can lift cargoes of up to 150 tonnes, are scheduled to join MOK's fleet from the end of 2016 to spring 2017. They will replace two older 12,000 dwt semi-heavy lifters from the company's fleet.

The ships are also equipped with ballast water treatment equipment, an energy-saving engine and have 30 m long box-shaped cargo holds with wide hatches, said MOK.

The vessels, which will have overall lengths of 132 m, a 23 m beam and 16 m depth, will be able to accommodate various cargoes, from steel products and heavy cargoes to bulk shipments. 

The newbuild vessels will mainly be deployed on the company's liner service covering the Far East, Middle East and Red Sea.

Furthermore, the company is deploying two 13,500 dwt multipurpose vessels into its service this year, both of which have 100-tonne capacity cranes installed.

MOL recently formed a new brand to consolidate its breakbulk and project cargo handling operations, MOL Project & Heavy Cargo. The company hopes that the three new vessels will reinforce the activity of this new venture.