13 Jul 2015

New forecast service determines trajectories and grounding risk of large drifting vessels

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) signed up for our operational forecast service of large vessel drift.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is one of the largest maritime safety authorities in the world and is responsible for all ship and airplane traffic across the Australian territory. Running 24 hours a day and seven days a week, the operational forecast service will provide on-demand forecasts of the trajectories and grounding risk of large drifting vessels in Australian waters.

More than a third of all reported ship related incidents involve grounding vessels, which can pose a serious safety risk to the crew and cause damage to the vessel itself. In addition, vessel grounding can sometimes lead to catastrophic harm to marine environments due to the spilling of bunker fuel, crude oil, and other highly eco-toxic substances.

Vessel grounding incidents often begin when the vessel loses propulsion. It then starts drifting involuntarily, subject to local wind, wave, and current forces. As a result, mitigating grounding risks also requires an accurate methodology for being able to predict drifting vessel response.

Drifting Vessel Probability Density GBR. ©DHI

Driven by a state-of-the-art numerical model developed by DHI, the forecast offers an unprecedented capability to accurately predict the trajectories of large drifting commercial vessels subject to combined wind, wave, and current induced forces. It also takes into account detailed aspects of vessel class, size, and loading condition. 

‘With the surge in recent decades in commercial vessel traffic passing through sensitive Australian waters – such as through the Great Barrier Reef – we are delighted that AMSA has chosen to try our forecasting service. This is a proactive step forward towards improving the approach used to deal with grounding risks of large drifting vessels’, says Simon Brandi Mortensen, DHI Australia. ‘We are looking forward to continuing our close working relationship in the years to come’.