National Computational Infrastructure

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Reducing ship grounding risk

Model predictions (green vessels) against what actually happened for the Equator Peace (pink vessel).

Model predictions (green vessels) against what actually happened for the Equator Peace (magenta vessel).

Global not-for-profit water and maritime engineering organisation DHI is using NCI to model currents and waves to understand the risks of ships coming aground on the Australian coast. Working with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), DHI is trying to help them understand where the risk of ships going aground is the greatest.

Simon Mortensen, DHI’s Group Executive for Port and Navigation, says “We need to forecast what waves and currents are doing in the ocean on a very large scale. These massive models that cover large sections of Australia sometimes need to simulate ocean conditions for several years. This requires a massive amount of computer power, which is where NCI fits in. Working with NCI has allowed us to model longer and wider than we ever have before.”

Ships going aground often cause a lot of damage, have the potential to create oil spills and are expensive to rescue. By understanding where the waves, currents and winds might push them if they broke down close to shore, DHI and AMSA hope to reduce dramatically the risk of those events happening.

Based on the results of DHI’s modelling, AMSA is now able to mitigate risks in ways that were previously impossible, for example by placing tugboats in areas that are known to present a higher risk to ships. With this new knowledge and modelling expertise, DHI is able to go all over the world to apply it to other coastlines too.

The web interface used by AMSA when a drift event occurs.

The web interface used by AMSA when a drift event occurs.

“DHI are envisioning an even stronger partnership with NCI in the future,” says Mr Mortensen. “Our numerical Metocean models can provide much higher resolution results these days due to the access to the computer power provided by NCI. Overall, we’ve been extremely pleased with the collaboration. It’s had an absolutely amazing impact on the problems we’ve been able to solve.”

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