Kokusai Cable Ship Co., Ltd. and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. announced that on September 24, 2021, they concluded a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on collaborative operation of cable-laying ships to meet increasing demand for installation of power cables—a key element of supply chains in the globally expanding offshore wind farm business.

KCS was established in 1966 and the following year launched the KDD Maru, Japan’s first submarine cable-laying ship. Over the ensuing half century, the company has been involved in the construction of some 70,000km of undersea cables, mainly in the Asia Pacific region. It is a leading company in submarine cable-laying and maintenance, and oversees the maintenance of over 87,000km of cable. In 2019, KCS launched the KDDI Cable Infinity, Japan’s first self-propelled power and telecommunication cable laying ship.

MOL and its group company MOL Marine & Engineering Co., Ltd. (MOLMEC) have managed and operated a total of four KCS-owned cable-laying ships including the KDD Maru for over 50 years. The MOL Group is the only Japanese ocean shipping company involved in the management and operation of cable-laying ships.

“Cable laying ships adopt dynamic positioning systems to lay submarine cables with safety and precision, and MOL and MOLMEC have accumulated technology and expertise to automatically maintain the ship position under various environmental and weather conditions,” the company said in a statement. “Their collective know-how and skilled personnel are expected to be used in a wide range of various offshore businesses, including the rapidly growing wind power generation field.”

KCS is responsible for cable handling and laying operations, which require advanced technology, expertise, and knowledge, while MOL and MOLMEC are in charge of ship management and operation including supplying seafarers who have the advanced skills to operate the “Dynamic Positioning Systems“ indispensable for cable-laying ships. As they fulfill these roles, both companies will jointly research commercial opportunities in new submarine cable-laying demand, mainly for offshore wind farm facilities, which are gaining wider application in Japan and throughout Asia.