BWS 002.

More than 30 years of mooring analysis and design by Dr Terry O’Brien AM has led to the development of OMC’s Berth Warning System (BWS) .

This predictive and real-time system is a scientific tool not only for increasing berth operating safety but also port efficiency by reducing the risk that operations will be suspended unnecessarily.

BWS is a practical tool for ensuring the safe mooring of ships.

This tool reduces the probability of an incident resulting from excessive motions of the moored ship. By scientifically predicting the loads placed by the ship on the mooring lines and fenders, and forecasting wind and waves out to 48 hours, the BWS helps support terminal operators to make decisions about the safe operation of berthed ships. It improves such decisions as to whether to remove a berthed ship, delay berthing, increase loading rates or to simply operate as scheduled.

The BWS can also be used as a planning tool. When a number of ships are waiting for the same berth, it allows operators to model several ships over a 48-hour period to ensure operating safety and continuity by selecting the optimum order to load the ships. Ships of different sizes and stability parameters can experience significantly different motions in the same wave and wind conditions.

BWS’s have been in operation since the late 1990s including at Hay Point’s coal terminal. A system was installed at the Kurnell offshore mooring facility at Botany Bay in 1997 following the near-catastrophic breakout of the World Kudos during a severe swell event earlier that year.

The BWS continues to provide real-time operational warnings on forecast wind and wave conditions which may cause ships to break lines at the berth or damage fenders, causing unacceptable OH&S risks to personnel and damage to wharf structures and the ship itself. In late 2013, OMC installed BWS at each of the Rio Tinto ports of Cape Lambert, Dampier and Cape Cuvier.

Recent developments in OMC’s swell forecasting models used in many of the DUKC® systems are now available for use in the BWS and will considerably enhance its operational value.

An example of where such forecasting may have prevented a marine catastrophe is the loss of the MV Tycoon at Christmas Island in January 2012, apparently caused by a rapid growth in wind and ocean swell causing excessive ship motions which lead to breakage of the ship’s lines and ended with the loss of the ship on the cliff face.

Like DUKC® Series 5, the BWS is also available to port users through the internet via a web browser.

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”.