By Jim Wilson
OMC International has announced that it has signed a contract with ASX-listed mining company Arrium for the supply of a dynamic under-keel clearance system for the miner’s transhipment operations in the Spencer Gulf.
“This is a real turning point for OMC because the Arrium Whyalla DUKC real-time software navigation system is not only our first South Australian installation but also, more significantly, this is the first time that DUKC is being used fora transhipment operation,” said inventor and OMC founder, Dr Terry O’Brien.
Arrium mines heatite iron ore from the Middleback ranges of South Australia, according to an OMC statement, which it transports to the shallow-draught port at Whyalla.
Ore is loaded onto barges which transport the commodity to capesize vessels moored approximately 15km offshore in the Spencer Gulf.
OMC was commissioned to carry out a study into under-keel requirements for capesize vessels in the Spencer Gulf back in 2005.
This study was updated the following year with additional tide data and bathymetry.
According to Peter O’Brien, OMC International’s CEO, interest in the system was “renewed” early last year.
Further studies took place and a deal was inked in early February.
“The productivity benefits are that, under most conditions, the barges will be able to load more ore onto the capsize vessels when those vessels can take it.
“Capes will have a deeper draught than under static conditions, which will also help with planning for barge operations,” Mr O’Brien told Lloyd’s List Australia.
He added that, under the static rules the allowable draught is 18.2m whereas the dynamic system may allow for an additional 27-30cm “under most conditions”.
Mr O’Brien added that OMC is now in the process of building and validating the system under local conditions with a mid-year operational date scheduled.
Reprinted with permission from Lloyd’s List Australia