Sunflower Satsuma ferry

Sunflower Satsuma ferry current position

Sunflower Satsuma ferry current location is at East Asia (coordinates 31.46196 N / 131.09876 E) cruising en route to >JP OSA 4N. The AIS position was reported 15 minutes ago.

Current Position

Specifications of Sunflower Satsuma ferry

Year of build2018  /  Age: 6
Flag state Japan
BuilderJMU-Japan Marine United Corporation (Isogo-Yokohama, Japan)
Classcruiseferry (Ro-Pax ship)
Ferry route / homeportsOsaka-Shibushi (Kagoshima)
Building costJPY 10 billion / USD 90 million
Engines (power)Wartsila (17.66 MW / 23682 hp)
Speed23 kn / 43 km/h / 26 mph
Length (LOA)192 m / 630 ft
Beam (width)27 m / 89 ft
Gross Tonnage13659 gt
Freight vehicles121
Decks with cabins3
Sister-shipsSunflower Kirishima
OwnerMitsui OSK Lines Ltd (via Mitsui OSK Passenger Line)
OperatorMOL Ferries Ltd (via Ferry Sunflower Co Ltd)

Sunflower Satsuma ferry Review

Review of Sunflower Satsuma ferry

Sunflower Satsuma ferry is a Ro-Pax/Ro-Ro passenger vessel operated by the Japan-based company MOL FERRIES (subsidiary of Mitsui OSK Passenger Line). The ship has a max capacity of 709 passengers and cargo capacity 134 cars plus 121 lorries (semi-trailers/13-meter-long trucks). The vessel was inaugurated in 2018 (May) and currently operates on the Honshu-Kyushu ferry route Osaka-Shibushi/Kagoshima City (route distance 360 mi / 580 km) with crossing/ship travel time 15 hours.

Ferry Sunflower Co Ltd operates the Osaka-Shibushi route since 1991. Since 2018, on the same route is also deployed the sistership Sunflower Kirishima.

The vessel (IMO number 9797010) is currently Japan-flagged (MMSI 431010811) and registered in Osaka.

Sunflower Satsuma ferry ship (MOL Ferries Japan)

Sunflower Satsuma in Japanese is さんふらわあ さつま

The new ferry's name honors the old Sunflower Satsuma (1993-built, IMO 9035113) having 9 decks, max passenger capacity 782 and max cargo capacity 140 vehicles plus 175 trucks. The old ship was built for Blue Highway Line (in service 1993-2007) and later was acquired by Diamond Ferry (2007-2011), Sunflower Ferry (2011-2018) and DLU Ferry (since 2018). Since 2019, the old namesake is named DHARMA FERRY VII (Indonesia-flagged/MMSI 525200723) and homeported in Tanjung Perak.

Decks and Cabins

The cruise ferry Sunflower Satsuma has a total of 117 staterooms including 94 private (80%), which are all fitted with individual air conditioners, TVs, refrigerators, kettles, and most have en-suite bathrooms.

The passenger accommodations include 12x Balcony Suites, 13x Wheelchair-Accessible cabins (adapted for disabled passengers), 10x Pet Cabins, and 89x Truck Driver Cabins.

Passenger cabins' bathrooms are fitted with WC-toilet, washbasin, shower, hairdryer, hangers, trash can, cups. MOL Ferries provides bed linens, service towels, and toiletries (toothbrushes, hand soap).

On the new Satsuma ship were introduced Ferry Sunflower fleet's first Balcony Suites (all with wheelchair-friendly bathrooms with bathtubs and with private step-out terraces each fitted with two deckchairs), the Whizpet Room ("Superior With Pet Room" cabin category), Private Single cabins (targeting truck drivers, with shared bathrooms/トラック乗務員様専用スタンダードシングル), Private Bed cabins (with indoor stairs access to the upper beds), and Premium Tourist Bed cabins (Group Japanese-style rooms with floor bedding/folding mattresses).

4x Private Bed Group cabins (プライベートベッド(グループ)) are with capacity 4 people and sized 37 m2.

Other fleet-firsts are the Dog Run (outdoor dog exercise area) and the Bridge Camera (installed above the Wheelhouse/Navigation Bridge) providing real-time footage during the voyage available on all TVs (including in the staterooms).

The boat has 8 decks, of which 3 are with public venues and staterooms and 5x are garage decks (for wheeled cargo/passenger vehicles and trucks).

Shipboard facilities and amenities

Onboard facilities include a large public bath, a restaurant (buffet-style dining venue), a cafe lounge (exclusive for passengers in the top-tier suites on Deck 8), an indoor playground (kids' corner), Baby Changing Room, Public Restrooms, Truck Drivers' facilities (Bathhouse).

Next are listed Sunflower Satsuma cruise ship's staterooms, venues and facilities by deck.

Forward on Deck 8 (階) are located all Balcony Suites (plus 2x Barrier-Free Suites with large round windows) and the bow-facing Navigation Bridge/Wheelhouse with the adjacent Captain's Suite and officers' quarters.

On Deck 7 (階) are located Observation Bathhouse, Shower Room (24-hours open private showers), Dog Run (ドッグラン / outdoor dog exercise area), Pet Cage Room (ペットケージルーム / with cages and trash bins), Baby Care Room (ベビーケアルーム, diaper changing room for babies, has a water heater), and passenger accommodations (Deluxe, Superior, Private Single, Private Bed, Barrier-Free Tourist Rooms).

Pet Cage Rooms are at charge and pre-cruise reservations are required. Pet cages are medium-sized (55x53x72 cm).

On Deck 6 (階) are located the Boarding Hall (Atrium's Lobby level, Reception Desk, Souvenir Shop, digital signage board), Hayato Restaurant (with plenty of table seats and counter seats, also baby chairs), Buffet Restaurant (with two lines, variety of Western, Japanese, and Chinese dishes), Game Corner (arcade machines and toys-claw machines), Kids' Room (indoor playground), two Grand Baths (large public bathhouses, separate for men 紳士展望浴場 and women 婦人展望浴場, each with 1x Sauna, 3x spa pools/hot tubs, 5x large windows, changing cubicles, washrooms), as well as the exclusive Truck Driver Bathhouse (トラック乗務員様専用展望浴場) and passenger accommodations (Private Bed/Tourist Rooms, and Standard Single/Truck Driver Rooms).

The Grand Bathrooms are free of charge. However, passengers with tattoos/tattoo seals and body art paintings as well as dead-drunk passengers are not allowed in the wellness facilities.

The Promenade (midship on Deck 6) is an indoor deck space with an oceanview Atrium lounge with comfortable seating (leather sofas, small tables with armchairs and pouf chairs lined up by the round-shaped large windows) and two grand staircases (in the center).

Next to the Atrium staircase, there is a Photo Corner (a large panel on the hull for Sunflower cruise-themed selfies) in front of which passengers can take pictures upon boarding. Sailor uniforms and hats are provided complimentary to both adults and children.

The Shop sells shop has a wide selection of Sunflower-logoed merchandise (including toys and puzzles), also food and beverages (including alcohol), clothing, convenience goods/daily necessities, presents, souvenirs.

From Deck 6 is provided direct stair- and lift access to the vehicle decks below.

Hayato Restaurant's pricing (2023-updated) is as follows - Breakfast (JPY 750 per adult/500 per school student/300 per toddler), Dinner (JPY 1800 adult/1000 school student/500 toddler). Beverages cost as follows - draft beer (JPY 500), Sake (JPY 250), Shochu (JPY 250), Sunflower Kobe Wine (JPY 1570 per bottle/940 half bottle).

Hayato Restaurant's menu items include various salads, seafood (fried squid, shumai/dumpling, amberjack sushi/sashimi), Neapolitan pasta, chicken, steak, rice (cooked and fried), raw vegan curry, pot dishes (oden/nabemono, miso soup), desserts and fruits (ice cream, osatsu snacks, cupcakes, cakes, flavored shaved ice, watermelon, pineapple). The Drink Bar's machines provide complimentary beverages (sodas, coffee, tea, juices) while the draft beer machine is chargeable (JPY 500). The Liquor Counter sells wines, sake, shochu, highball cocktails.

Buffet tickets can be purchased from the ticket machine in front of Hayato Restaurant's entrance. Dinner starts at 6 PM. Food ingredients change depending on the season.

The ship provides plenty of coin lockers, PIN lockers (for valuables) and refrigerated lockers (for foods/beverages). There are also coin laundry facilities (fitted with 3x washing machines/JPY 300, 3x dryers/JPY 100, detergent is added automatically), 2x full-body massage chairs, 1x smartphone charging station (JPY 100), 1x pay phone.

Vehicle decks are 5 (floor 1 through floor 5) with Deck 4 being the Boarding Deck (portside door).

Deck 8 is the top level of the 3-deck-high Atrium (アトリウム) where on the ceiling are projected UHD images and sound/projection mapping using an Epson EB-L30000U (3LCD laser projector). The 3-story Atrium (decks 6-7-8) has large windows on each floor and on both sides.

On Decks 6 and 7 are located vending machines selling canned beverages (soft drinks, alcohol), cup noodles, packaged snacks.

Sunflower Satsuma ferry ship (MOL Ferries Japan)

The passenger boarding gate is on Deck 4, from where an elevator connects to Deck 6's Lobby/Reception.

Ship boarding starts approx 2 hours prior to departure. Priority boarding is offered to all car drivers. For online reservations, check-in is automatic (machine).

All onboard emergency instructions are displayed in staterooms, on the TV screens, and at the ship's assembly stations (aka muster stations) located aft on Deck 8 (portside and starboard).

Life jackets are issued at the Emergency Assembly Stations (非常集合場所).

In cases of emergency, the use of elevators/passenger lifts is forbidden.

The ship's top deck serves as a helipad used for emergency helicopter landings.


Car decks

The new Sunflower Satsuma ship has a total of five garage decks (for wheeled cargo), of which decks 4 and 4 are for trucks (13m semi-trailers), while decks 1-2-3 are for passenger vehicles (cars and vans).

Disabled passengers or those requiring specific assistance should contact the ship's Reception on Deck 6 (open 24 hours).

After parking on the Garage Deck, apply the handbrake and place the vehicle in park/1st gear position, then switch off the ignition, alarm, electrical equipment, headlights. Lock the vehicle.

From your vehicle take only valuables and essential hand baggage.

Make a note of your vehicle's location and garage deck number/stairway before leaving your designated car deck.

Access to the cargo decks during the voyage is forbidden.

Smoking is not allowed shipwide (including at observation desks), except in the designated rooms (located near the passenger cabins close to the Atrium) on decks 6-7-8 midship.

Upon leaving the ship, in order to avoid air pollution, don't start the engine until instructed.

ferry company MOL FERRIES logo - CruiseMapper

The shipowner MOL Ferries (2023-founded, headquartered in Oita City Japan) is a cargo and passenger company operating with 6 large vessels (three pairs of sisterships) the Japanese island routes Osaka-Beppu, Osaka-Shibushi, and Kobe-Oita. MOL Ferries (operational since October 1, 2023) groups the fleets of the MOL Group's subsidiaries Ferry Sunflower Ltd (2009-founded) and MOL Ferry Co Ltd (1969-founded).

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Sunflower Satsuma ferry Wiki

The shipbuilding order for the two newbuilds (Satsuma and Kirishima) was placed on November 16, 2015. Both newbuilds were intended for the Osaka-Shibushi/Kagoshima route. The ships' names were officially announced on January 31, 2017.

The vessel Sunflower Satsuma (JMU yard/hull number 5138) was launched/floated out from drydock on June 18, 2017, completed and delivered to Ferry Sunflower Co Ltd on April 20, 2018, and commissioned/entered service on May 15th (2018). The Maiden Voyage departed from Osaka (to Shibushi) on May 15th.

The shipbuilder is JMU (Japan Marine United Co Ltd and the ferry was constructed at JMU's yard in Isogo-Yokohama City.

In comparison to the JMU-built/2017-launched sisterships Furano and Sapporo, the 2018-launched sisterships Satsuma and Kirishima are designed slightly larger (+1240 GT-tons), with ~16% bigger cargo capacity (in terms of trucks' number/121 vs 104), ~2,5 times more public space, and ~20% more staterooms (117 total, including 94 private, all fitted with individually controlled air-conditioning, TVs, refrigerators and en-suite bathrooms with shower/washbasin/toilet). The number of Barrier-free and Pet-friendly cabins was also increased.

On Satsuma-Kirishima were also introduced Ferry Sunflower fleet's first Balcony Suites (each with a bathtub in the bathroom and a private step-out terrace), the Whizpet Room ("Deluxe with Pet" cabin category), Private Single cabins (targeting students, without en-suite bathrooms), Private Bed cabins (with indoor stairs access to the upper beds), Premium Tourist Bed cabins (Group Japanese-style rooms with futon bedding) and the Dog Run (outdoor dog exercise area). Another fleet-first was the camera installed above the Wheelhouse/Navigation Bridge to provide real-time footage during the voyage available on all TVs (including in the staterooms).

On the cruise ferries Satsuma-Kirishima was also introduced onboard projection mapping (on the 3-deck-high Atrium's ceiling).

In comparison to the ships Furano-Sapporo, the ships Satsuma-Kirishima also have a 2,5 times larger entrance hall/Lobby, 1,5 times larger restaurant, ~20% more reserved seats (206), 1,7 times larger public bath (with a 24-hour shower room) and a separate large public bath was added exclusively for truck drivers.

All JMU-built ferries are equipped with a hybrid CRP propulsion system that consists of two counter-rotating propellers which are arranged in a line but rotating in opposite directions. Both CPRs are driven by electric motors (powered by diesel generators). The propulsion system also includes 4x thrusters (360-degree azimuthing propellers with electric motors), including 2x bow and 2x aft.

The new Sunflower ferries became Japan's first passenger ships with hybrid propulsion. For better fuel efficiency, the hull form was also optimized which resulted in a larger size and better performance (reduced resistance and improved vertical motion).

The powerplant is based on 2x Wartsila marine diesel engines (model 12V32E) each with output 8,83 MW (at 750 rpm). Wartsila's equipment also includes the gearbox and control systems.

Satsuma's and Kirishima's design was developed by Flux Design (with Tomoyuki Watanabe as Managing Director) and features an aerodynamically rounded bow (shaped to use diagonal headwinds for additional propelling power) as well as larger interior spaces and passenger accommodations.

The shipbuilder JMU-Japan Marine United Corporation was established in January 2013 through the merger of USC-Universal Shipbuilding Co Ltd (2002-founded) and IHI Marine United Co Ltd (1995-founded, fully owned by IHI Corporation). JMU's current majority stakeholders are IHI Corporation (35%), JFE Holdings (35%) and Imabari Shipbuilding Co Ltd (30%). JMU generally specializes in cargo shipbuilding including Large Container Ships, VLCCs-Very Large Crude Carriers, Bulk Carriers, LNG Carriers, Suezmax oil tankers, Car Carriers, offshore support vessels and floating structures, Ro-Pax/Passenger and Car Ferries, as well as patrol boats and warships (destroyers and minesweepers).