The OMC Research & Development team specialises in development and innovation in the fields related to DUKC®  technology. These include environmental condition predictions, vessel motion measurement and analysis, hydrodynamics and novel decision support products utilising new technologies.

The purpose of the Research section is to discover, innovate, verify and apply new knowledge in an effort to provide its customers with world leading solutions.

While the R&D team are often called upon to support client requests when their requirements push the boundaries of DUKC® and related technology, there have also been several examples of OMC technology being developed in advance of the field. Recent examples include the DUKC® Chart Overlay, Dynamic Port Capacity Modelling (DPCM) services and the iHeave®  vessel motion visualiser (coming soon).

The Research section helps OMC provide world leading innovative solutions to its customers.

Measuring Vessel Motions using a Rapid-Deployment Device on Ships of Opportunity

Vessel motion data have many uses including seakeeping, vessel response model validation, under-keel clearance and cargo studies. However accurate measurements using survey-grade DGPS equipment on ships of opportunity can be hazardous for both the instruments and the personnel attending them in extreme weather conditions. These are frequently the very conditions for which the measurements are most desirable. For waterway-specific investigations where particular conditions are targeted, a portable, robust and easy to set-up/dismount solution is required to opportunistically measure vessel motions when conditions of interest occur.

This paper describes OMC International's development and implementation of such a device for full scale vessel motion data collection, the “iHeave®” vessel motion recorder.

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17 Feb 2013


Under-Keel Clearance at the Columbia River Bar

The Columbia River Bar (USA) is one of the most dangerous and challenging navigated stretches of water in the world. However, successful passage grants access to several inland ports and waterways through which transportation between the US Pacific Northwest and the world averages 40 million tons of cargo valued at $20 billion each year.

During 2011 and 2012 OMC International performed under-keel clearance (UKC) modelling and detailed validation studies for the Columbia River Bar Pilots including measurement and analysis of the motion of 24 vessels crossing the Columbia River Bar in moderate to high seas. Measurements and detailed UKC modelling reveal that UKC needs to be carefully managed on the Columbia River Bar. Conditions under which touch bottom events might occur vary greatly with vessel class and transit direction and that no clear “rules of thumb” can be established to ensure risky transits are avoided. A web-based demonstration DUKC® system has been used by the Columbia River Bar Pilots to analyse the UKC of more than 130 deep-draft transits.

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16 Feb 2013


Use of Web-Based Decision Support Technology for In-Transit Under Keel Clearance Management

The Dynamic Under Keel Clearance System (DUKC®) is a real time under-keel clearance (UKC) system used by ports and shallow waterways to maximise port productivity and safety. The DUKC® considers all factors that affect the UKC of a vessel transiting a channel to determine the minimum safe UKC requirements. With a track record of 19 years and more than 60,000 vessel transits globally without incident, DUKC® has a strong history as an operational tool.

OMC has now developed the next generation of the DUKC® product suite, DUKC® Series 5, which integrates the proven core calculation engines from previous DUKC® releases with a new web interface thus allowing easy accessibility to the system for approved users world-wide. DUKC® users are now able to successfully execute under keel clearance related tasks via the web rather than the traditional desktop-based user interface.

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17 Feb 2012


Maximising Vessel Utilisation Through Channel Design

The Dynamic Underkeel Clearance System (DUKC®) is a real time underkeel clearance (UKC) system used by ports to maximise port productivity and safety. The DUKC® considers all factors that affect the UKC of a vessel transiting a channel to determine the minimum safe UKC requirements. With a track record of 19 years and more than 60,000 vessel transits without incident, DUKC® has a strong history as an operational tool. However, the technology is increasingly being sought to optimise channel designs for port expansions and greenfield developments.

This paper will focus on the channel design work undertaken for Rio Tinto’s Cape Lambert expansion.

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16 Feb 2011


Risk Mitigation Through DUKC® - Case Study Port of Melbourne

DUKC® is a proprietary under keel clearance (UKC) management system (installed at 19 ports world wide) that predicts the UKC of vessels, accounting for the latest environmental, vessel and transit information.

Historically, DUKC® Systems have been recognised for the enormous economic benefits provided to waterway owners and users. However, increasing international recognition is being given to the significant benefits which dynamic determination of underkeel clearance provides as a risk mitigation tool. While OMC has pioneered this tool for 17 years, leading international bodies such as PIANC and IALA are now developing guidelines and standards around dynamic UKC determination.

Risk mitigation has been the primary motivation for the recent DUKC® implementation into the Port of Melbourne, Australasia’s largest container port.

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16 Feb 2010


El Mejoramiento De La Navegacion Utilizando El Sistema DUKC®

In 2008, after an internationally tendered process, OMC-International (OMC) was contracted by the German Waterways and Shipping Directorate (WSA) to develop a Dynamic Underkeel Clearance (DUKC®) system for the Weser River. The motivation of WSA in implementing a dynamic UKC management system was to account for the unknown as the waterway and its utilisation began to change. The waterway authority was planning an extensive dredging campaign with the objective of increasing the declared depth in the river.

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16 Feb 2010


The Implementation and Commissioning of DUKC® In-Tranist at the Port of Melbourne

Dynamic Under Keel Clearance (DUKC®) is a proprietary under keel clearance (UKC) management system (installed at 19 ports world wide) that predicts the UKC of vessels, accounting for the latest environmental, vessel and transit information.

Historically, DUKC® Systems have been recognised for the enormous economic benefits which are usually provided to waterway owners and users. However, increasing international recognition is being given to the significant benefits which dynamic determination of under keel clearance provides as a risk mitigation tool. While OMC has pioneered this tool for 17 years, leading international bodies such as PIANC and IALA are now developing guidelines and standards around dynamic UKC determination.

Risk mitigation has been the primary motivation for the recent DUKC® implementation into the Port of Melbourne, Australasia‟s largest and one of the world‟s top 50 container ports. The entrance to the Port is considered one of the most difficult pilotage and technical modelling challenges anywhere on earth.

 

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15 Feb 2010


Port of Melbourne - DUKC® Implementation

Port Phillip Heads (PPH) is rightly considered one of the most treacherous stretches of water in the world with numerous shipwrecks located in its surrounds. Deep draft vessels entering or departing the Port of Melbourne (Australia’s largest container port) must negotiate a passage through this energetic and complex environment and under certain conditions wave-induced vessel motions at PPH can limit access to the Port. To ensure the safety of vessels transiting the Port of Melbourne, the Port of Melbourne Corporation (POMC) engaged OMC-International to configure and install a DUKC®  system at the port. The combined wave and vessel motion forecasts at PPH produced by the DUKC®  have been validated by full scale vessel motion measurement and analysis. This work enabled a successful implementation of a DUKC®  system at a port that contains one of the most challenging stretches of navigable water in the world. Through a scientific approach of identifying and predicting relevant UKC components the DUKC® ensures that safety at the Port of Melbourne meets world’s best practice.

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16 Feb 2009


Squat modelling for operational underkeel clearance systems

OMC International is the sole provider of Dynamic Underkeel Clearance (DUKC®) systems. OMC’s systems predict and manage underkeel clearance for vessels travelling along depth restricted waterways. These systems have now advanced to a level where users, such as pilots and VTS officers, can monitor the vessel progress and underkeel clearance (UKC) in real-time and assess how changes in vessel speed can optimise vessel squat and trim.

This paper describes the how squat predictions are used in operational conditions and how real-time speed control is used to optimise vessel squat and trim for underkeel clearance purposes. Three case studies of operational systems are presented.

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15 Feb 2009


UKC management an Australasian perspective

Historically UKC management in Australia and New Zealand has been based on empirical static rules. Depending on the port various static UKC rules were in place for example 10% of draft, 15% of draft, or 1m + 5% of draft. The justification of a particular static rule was generally historic use; it had been used previously without incident, but remained unchanged despite significant growth in vessel sizes. A problem with a static rule is that it ignores atmospheric tide, wave and current conditions and the particular conditions and transit speeds of the vessel in question.

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17 Feb 2008


Recent Developments and Applications of DUKC® Technology in Channel Design and Operation

The Dynamic Under Keel Clearance System (DUKC®) has been the leading real-time UKC system in the world for more than 15 years. It has assisted more than 35,000 vessel movements without incident and has directly generated for shippers and stakeholders many billion of dollars in decreased freight costs and increased cargo throughput, while increasing port safety. These gains have been achieved at a small fraction of the cost involved in gaining equivalent increases in productivity by dredging, without incurring any adverse environmental effects.

OMC has continued to tailor the DUKC® system to better meet the under keel clearance needs of its customers.

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16 Feb 2008


Recent Developments and Applications of DUKC® Technology

The Dynamic Under Keel Clearance System (DUKC®) has been the leading real-time UKC system in the world for more than 15 years. It has assisted more than 35,000 vessel movements without incident and has directly generated for shippers and stakeholders many billion of dollars in decreased freight costs and increased cargo throughput, while increasing port safety. These gains have been achieved at a small fraction of the cost involved in gaining equivalent increases in productivity by dredging, without incurring any adverse environmental effects.

OMC has continued to tailor the DUKC® system to better meet the under keel clearance needs of its customers. The resultant products provide integrated vessel management and monitoring tools from port of origin to port of destination.

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15 Feb 2008


Vessel Interaction – A Case Study

The growth in vessel sizes is placing ports under increasing pressure to safely and efficiently meet the demand. One major issue river ports in particular are facing is the unacceptable motions of a moored vessel generated by large passing vessels. This is causing both safety issues, where resulting breakage of lines can cause significant injury or death, and efficiency issues, where berths are required to stop loading while a vessel passes.

Decisions made by port operators on what measures to take for passing vessel scenarios are typically ad hoc and based only on experience. This generic approach may fail to address important safety and efficiency issues.

OMC has developed a scientifically-based model for determining optimum vessel passing speeds and distances given the prevailing environmental conditions, tidal levels and characteristics of both the moored and passing vessels. The model has been validated against full scale measurements, with excellent correlation between measured data and model outputs.

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17 Feb 2007


Spectral wave prediction with imperfect forecasts

The short-term prediction of wave conditions can have significant economic implications for port shipping operations. Better prediction accuracy can potentially increase loading drafts while also increasing the probability of the loaded vessel being able to safely traverse port harbor channel. This paper describes a new approach to achieving improved swell predictions for use in ship movement planning.

With no ideal forecast source for swell conditions available, a method of combining multiple forecast sources was investigated to determine a best-estimate swell forecast. Numerical wave forecasting models can provide forecasts of wave states for specified locations, however for many locations the forecast quality can be insufficient for ship loading and movement planning.

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16 Feb 2007


Understanding the waves at Port Phillip Heads, Melbourne, Australia

Waves at Port Phillip Heads are energetic, complex, and important. Although waves arriving at the coast from the Southern Ocean are relatively uniform, in the heads they interact with tidal currents, which can exceed 3 m/s, and with complex bathymetry. This leads to a large degree of spatial and temporal variability. Port Phillip Heads are part of the approaches to the Port of Melbourne (Australia’s largest container port). Wave-induced ship-motions can limit access to the port under certain conditions and the Port of Melbourne Corporation has invested heavily in wave measurement, analysis, and modelling to better understand and predict wave conditions in the shipping channel. This paper presents data and analysis achieved through the use of a range of instruments including sea-bed recorders, wave buoys, and wave radar. Key results include confirmation that, despite all the spatial complexity, most of the temporal variability in the waves measured in the shipping channel can be readily described by the 1D action balance equation. Complex wave patterns involving reflections of waves from bathymetry can be observed visually, in the wave radar, and in the measured data.

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15 Feb 2007


UKC and Dredging Management at Ports Thorough DUKC® Methodolgy

The Dynamic Underkeel Clearance System (DUKC®) discussed in this paper has a 12 year track record as the leading UKC system, assisting more than 25,000 vessel movements without incident and directly generating in excess of $2 billion dollars in decreased freight costs and increased cargo throughput to port users and stakeholders. These gains have been achieved at a small fraction of the cost involved in gaining equivalent improvements by dredging.

Recent trends in the size of ships, together with increasing pressure on shippers to maintain tight schedules, have seen intense demands placed on ports to match vessel growth requirements in an efficient and timely manner. Increasing port capacity to cater for vessel growth is an expensive and lengthy exercise.

This paper focuses on how ports have utilised DUKC® methodology to provide optimal solutions to these growth requirements through short and long term maximisation of channel capacity in the most cost-efficient manner.

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17 Feb 2006


A Dynamic Approach to Determining Waterway Capacity

Determining waterway capacity is essential in making decisions to develop infrastructure that will affect that capacity. Conventional methods of determining waterway capacity do not adequately replicate operational activity. This reduces the probability that design objectives for infrastructure developments will be delivered in operation.

Consideration is given to the requirements of determining waterway capacity for a channel deepening project. Conventional methods and their deficiencies are discussed. An alternative method is outlined.

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16 Feb 2005


UKC Management through Dynamic Underkeel Clearance Systems, Mumbai

Dynamic underkeel clearance (DUKC®) management systems have been developed at several Australasian and New Zealand ports since 1993. Since the first installation at Hay Point in 1993 this Australian technology has been installed at eleven (11) ports around Australia and New Zealand. Refinements have occurred as a result of continuing interaction between harbourmasters, pilots, shipping officers, port users and the OMC design team. Traditionally, ports operate under fixed rules for under keel clearance which must be conservative to cover the broad range of conditions a vessel may be exposed to in transiting a channel.

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17 Feb 2004


UKC Management through Dynamic Underkeel Clearance Systems, Germany.

The proven under keel clearance prediction system discussed in this article has increased draft and widened tidal windows at several Australian and New Zealand ports, without compromising vessel safety. These improvements in port operation have provided economic benefits amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars in decreased freight costs and increased cargo throughput. These benefits have been obtained at a small fraction of the cost involved in dredging deeper channels to gain equivalent increases in drafts and tidal windows.

Since the Dynamic Underkeel Clearance (DUKC®) system was first developed in 1993, 11 customised versions have been installed in ports around Australia and New Zealand. Refinements have occurred as a result of continuing interaction between harbourmasters, pilots, shipping officers, port users and the OMC design team.

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16 Feb 2004


BWS Online Forecasting Berth Operating Safety.

BWS Online is a system designed to provide assistance to terminal operators in making decisions as to the operating safety of berthed vessels. A numerical vessel motion model is used to interpret the significance of forecast wave and wind conditions to berthed vessel operations. This provides a scientific tool for reducing the probability of an incident resulting from excessive motions of the moored vessel.

An introduction to the factors affecting berth operating conditions including swells, long waves and wind conditions, vessel size and load state and mooring configuration is provided.

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16 Feb 2003


Wave Forces on a Moored Vessel from Numerical Wave Model Results

Predicting the wave exciting forces on a vessel typically involves two separate steps; determining a design wave at the location of interest, and then using a linear description of this wave to determine wave forces on a vessel. A method to directly determine the wave exciting forces on a vessel from a wave model would therefore be a very useful tool. This study reports the development, implementation and verification of such a program. The wave model is a non-linear Boussinesq-type 2D model. In determining the wave exciting forces directly from this model, it was desirable to include the non-linear behaviour from the wave model in the determination of the wave forces, as particularly the lower frequency harmonics can have a significant influence on the response of a moored vessel. The conclusion of the study is that the developed program gives a good approximation of the wave exciting forces on a vessel from a non-linear wave field, including the influence of higher and lower order harmonics in the determination of the wave forces.

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17 Feb 2002


Experience Using A Dynamic Underkeel Clearance System At Port Taranaki

The paper describes the studies that have been undertaken and the experience that has been gained since December 1999 in the development and operation of a Dynamic Underkeel Clearance (DUKC) system at Port Taranaki, New Zealand.

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16 Feb 2002


Experience Using Underkeel Clearance Prediction Systems at Australian Ports Selected Case Studies and Recent Developments

The underkeel clearance (UKC) prediction system discussed in this paper has increased drafts and widened tidal windows at several Australian ports since 1993, without compromising vessel safety. These improvements in port operation have provided economic benefits amounting to millions of dollars in decreased freight costs and increased cargo throughput, at a small fraction of the cost involved in gaining equivalent improvements by dredging.

Since the Dynamic Underkeel Clearance (DUKC) system was first developed in 1993, seven customised versions have been installed in ports around Australia. Research and development of the DUKC system has continued since that time and has been greatly assisted by continuing interaction between Harbour Masters, Pilots, port users and the design team.

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15 Feb 2002


Full Scale Measurement Of Dynamic Ship Motions and Squat

'Real time' information integrated with 'Dynamic Modelling' is challenging traditional methodology in many port operations scenarios. Technology can be put to work to develop efficiencies that result in commercial benefits; it can also be used to test developments, and to reinforce safety aspects.

The proposal to replace gross UKC allowance by ship dynamics modelling integrated with real time tide and wave data has required thorough testing to validate outcomes. This paper presents the methodology and findings of a series of measurements undertaken in an exercise specifically designed to check the predictions of the Dynamic Under Keel Clearance (DUKC) system, installed at the Port of Brisbane.

Results of the measurement program were used to validate the numerical modelling of dynamic motions and squat in the DUKC system. Excellent agreement was obtained between measured and computed bottom clearances along the channel, with the DUKC system at all times providing conservative allowances for dynamic motions and squat.

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16 Feb 1999


Experience Measuring Full Scale Squat Of Full Form Vessels At Australian Ports

The existence of ship squat has been known for many years and is a major factor in shallow water navigation and underkeel clearance (UKC). However there is still a great deal of uncertainty within the shipping community regarding the magnitude and location of maximum ship squat.

The importance of being able to accurately predict ship squat is of increasing concern, as ships become larger and the need to sail with deeper drafts grows.

With new technology advances in the area of Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) it has become possible to measure full-scale ship squat with sub-decimeter accuracy.

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15 Feb 1999


Ship - Bank Interaction Effects: A Case Study - Port of Townsville

Navigation in restricted waterways has many challenges for even the most experienced ship handlers. Bank effect is a well known phenomenon that poses ship handling difficulties through the creation of a force and moment which can cause a ship to suddenly deviate from its course. Ship response to bank effect can be very difficult to predict.

Following construction of a new berth pocket and swing basin emanating from the main approach channel at the Port of Townsville, ships began to experience bank effect when passing the new berth. The lack of symmetry in the channel caused ships to slew into the dredged area, at times making ship handling very difficult and dangerous.

A comprehensive study involving full-scale Differential GPS(DGPS) measurements, model-scale testing and theoretical modelling was undertaken to determine the optimum dredging program to reduce the existing bank effect by 50%.

The paper concludes with the justification of the option chosen by Townsville Port Authority.

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14 Feb 1999