Under Keel Clearance Technology Wins International Award


By MarEx 2015-11-17 19:55:21

Australian firm OMC International’s innovative maritime technology has won a prestigious international safety award, Executive Director Dr Terry O’Brien AM announced today.

Dr O’Brien, who received the 2015 IBJ ‘Safety in Bulk Handling (Marine)’ trophy on behalf of his staff on Monday night at a glittering awards ceremony dinner in Antwerp, says this accolade further cements OMC’s reputation as a world-leader in real-time Under Keel Clearance (UKC) management technology.

“I accept this Safety award as recognition of the expertise of our more than 45 maritime and software engineers who have been further developing the exciting potential of DUKC e-Navigation technology, which enjoys an unblemished 22-year safety record,” Dr O’Brien said. “Our latest web-based product suite DUKC Series 5 also offers optional capabilities such as In-transit monitoring integrated into pilot PPU’s and VTS systems and real-time UKC chart overlays, as well as port capacity modelling incorporating the DUKC® system.”
CEO Peter O’Brien, who manages OMC’s day-to-day operations from the family-owned company’s Melbourne headquarters, said the latest DUKC Series 5 with its additional dynamic port capacity model (DPCM) was developed to enable the identification of additional capacity at Port Hedland.

“We have been working very successfully together with Pilbara Ports Authority (PPA) and just last Friday (13 November 2015), the WA Transport Minister Dean Nalder announced that this new modelling had pinpointed opportunities to increase the port’s forecast capacity from 495 million tons a year to 577 million tons,” Mr O’Brien said. “As Minister Nalder announced, the modelling also integrated recent operational changes implemented by PPA which has resulted in increased sailing drafts, the shipper's move to larger and more draft efficient vessels, and the port's ability to sail more ships on a tide.”

The DPCM models port capacity through Discrete Event Simulation (DES) and is the first time an operational DUKC system has been incorporated directly into port capacity modelling. DPCM simulations are used to evaluate the interactions and operations of a port between the fenderline and the sea including inbound and outbound vessels and tug and pilot requirements in order to maximize the throughput and channel capacity. 

The modelling includes consideration of planned and predicted fleet evolutions, port operational procedures and restrictions and port infrastructure upgrades. Environmental conditions are integrated into the model using the DUKC to ensure that determined capacity will accurately replicate operational practice, including the draft and tidal window benefits DUKC provides.

Mr O’Brien said the Port Hedland Series 5 system together with high spot dredging and the Tidal Model Project for which PPA recently was awarded the prestigious Premiers Award has resulted in a significant increase in vessel sailing drafts and tidal windows. This has allowed the PPA to significantly increase its export capacity, well demonstrated on 28 February 2015 where eight cape-size bulk carriers sailed out with a record tonnage of 1,511,977 tons.

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