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OMC can trace its history to the day during the sixties when Dr Terry O’Brien, then a Melbourne University lecturer, was contacted by the British Phosphate Commissioners to work on solutions for mooring the large phosphate ships in Nauru’s particularly deep port and also later off Christmas Island.

Scholar makes it his business to develop world-leading technology

Realising there was a niche business market for his ship motion model SPMS (Simulation Package for the Motion of Ships), developed during years of research, Dr O’Brien left academia in 1987 to set up OMC – initially working alone from the former stables at the rear of the family home – to develop his model into a working system for commercial shipping.

With strong support from Ports Corporation of Queensland, the first dynamic under keel clearance (DUKC)® system was installed in 1993 at Queensland’s Hay Point coal terminal.

In 1994, Captain Eric Atkinson, Australia’s longest-serving Harbour Master, oversaw the introduction of DUKC® into Western Australia (Fremantle), initially for BP tankers. A year later, in 1995, DUKC® was installed in Port Hedland  commissioned by Port Hedland Port Authority and also in the Port of Dampier (for Rio Tinto).

Since then, DUKC®systems have been installed at most major Australian ports and also in NZ, Europe and North America. Dr O’Brien’s SPMS intellectual property is still used for the core ship motion computations in all DUKC® products.

OMC is still the only specialist maritime firm whose core focus is to accurately calculate UKC for shipping regulators and pilots. It ensures that a ship cannot sail unless it is safe to do so, and it also delivers huge cost savings and vital environmental protection.

Under the strong leadership of Dr O’Brien, OMC’s Executive Director, and his CEO son Peter O’Brien, the Melbourne-based team of maritime and software engineers develops, installs and supports new DUKC®systems entirely in-house, as well as bringing new products to market.

OMC continues to deliver innovative UKC solutions to maximise the cargo-carrying capacity of large ships while ensuring safe navigation through shallow waterways, river systems and port approach channels.

OMC’s highly regarded knowledge of hydrodynamics, ship dynamics and experience in system delivery provides a proven model of UKC management..

In 2013, OMC celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first DUKC® navigation system and moved its Melbourne headquarters to nearby larger premises at 13 Harper St.

In June 2015, in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Dr Terry O’Brien was appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia for “significant service to maritime engineering, to the development of innovative marine navigation equipment and to education”.

On 16 November 2015, at an awards ceremony dinner in Antwerp, OMC is named Winner of the prestigious international 2015 IBJ Safety in Bulk Handling (Marine) Award for its maritime technology.

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 Reprinted with permission by Herald Sun/Copyright Agency.