In today’s Queen’s Birthday Honors List, OMC International Executive Director Dr Terry O’Brien has been 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”.
Melbourne engineer Dr O’Brien, who is the recognized global leader in Under Keel Clearance (UKC) management, said that his AM was “an unexpected honor”.
“I also see it as recognition of OMC’s dedicated and very talented staff who continue to ensure that DUKC® technology remains world’s best practice in safe and efficient navigation for the global shipping industry,” he said. “Their efforts have contributed to DUKC®’s unblemished 22-year safety record and I accept this AM on their behalf.”
In November last year, Dr O’Brien was inducted into the Lloyd’s List Australian Maritime Hall of Fame for having “a global impact” with the creation of his world-leading DUKC® e-Navigation technology.
While lecturing in engineering at Melbourne University, Dr O’Brien’s fascination with waves, currents, ship motions and the challenge of creating a numerical method of modelling them led him to develop his ship motion model SPMS (Simulation Package for the Motion of Ships).
In 1987, he left a distinguished 22-year academic career to further commercialize his model and establish O’Brien Maritime Consultants, now known as OMC. By 1993, Dr O’Brien had developed his innovation into a working DUKC® system which promised to make commercial shipping more efficient and safer. In 1993, he moved to Brisbane to support the installation of the first DUKC® system at Queensland’s Hay Point coal terminal.
Dr O’Brien’s intellectual property still provides the core ship motion computations in all DUKC® products, including the latest web-based DUKC® Series 5 which offers state of the art enhancements such as dynamic port capacity modelling.
DUKC® is the only dynamic e-Navigation system worldwide that has proven capacity to predict in real-time the critical vertical component of navigation during the actual transit.
Interestingly, Dr O’Brien, who has spent many years advising international working groups PIANC and IALA which set world standards for ship navigation and channel design, was himself mentored by industry leaders early on in his career, including during his time as a Doctoral student at Imperial College of Science and Technology in London.