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AboveBoard issue 4 2013


A bi-annual publication of the Australian Maritime College

Excellence in maritime training recognised

Breaking the ice

Aquaculture centre upgrades

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Cash splash for seafarer courses


ulia Gillard visited the Australian Maritime College on 2 May to announce a funding injection of $12 million for vocational education and training (VET).

“This funding will help rebuild the Australian shipping fleet and the skills base needed to keep the industry growing and prospering into the future,” Ms Gillard said. “Together, with our shipping reforms, funding for AMC will see the college train more seafarers than ever before, with more jobs available on Australian flagged ships.” It was Ms Gillard’s second visit to AMC in four years; her

The contract will run for a minimum of four years, with an option to extend, and training will be delivered at the AMC facilities on the University of Tasmania’s Newnham campus. The PPB program provides the participating Pacific Island nations with vital maritime surveillance capabilities to independently patrol and protect their exclusive economic zones. It has been the centrepiece of the Federal Government’s Defence

Neil Bose appointed AMC Principal Professor Bose has a distinguished academic career in the fields of marine propulsion, naval architecture and ocean engineering, including appointments at Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada) and the University of Glasgow (Scotland). He joined AMC in May 2007 as Professor of Maritime Hydrodynamics and was Acting Principal from January 2012 to February 2013.

Back row: Nick Mammides, Alex Clifford, Michelle Williams and Catherine Knuckey. Front row: Katherine Langworthy and Maddi Brick with then Prime Minister Julia Gillard. first being in 2009 when she attended in her capacity as Deputy PM and Minister for Education to open the newlybuilt Cavitation Research Laboratory. Her recent visit allowed her to tour the facility in operation and view some of the cuttingedge research work being undertaken. She also had the chance to take the helm at the ship simulator before meeting with representatives from AMC, UTAS and the wider community.

Afterwards Ms Gillard spoke with a group of AMC students about their career aspirations. Both UTAS Vice-Chancellor Peter Rathjen and AMC Principal Neil Bose welcomed the funding. “This funding has secured the future of maritime VET training courses in Australia, thus supporting the training needs of this important industry sector,” Professor Rathjen said. “It will provide a stable

base for AMC to compete internationally and help build on the already impressive economic benefits delivered by AMC to the state through students and research.” Professor Bose added: “A multi-year program of funding will enable staff to be engaged in development of the training courses so that Australia’s courses lead the way internationally rather than just being delivered at a world standard.”

AMC Search awarded $10m Pacific Patrol Boat contract AMC Search, the commercial arm of the Australian Maritime College, has been successful in winning a $10 million Commonwealth contract to continue its Pacific Patrol Boat (PPB) training program.

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Following an extensive national and international search, Professor Neil Bose has been appointed Principal of the Australian Maritime College.

This significant investment allows AMC to deliver more than 160,000 hours of specialised training to over 500 maritime students each year, and supports a national approach to seafarer training as part of the Federal Government’s shipping policy reform. The funds will be delivered across a four-year period, enabling AMC to sustain ongoing training courses for VET students who come from all over Australia and develop new, world-leading programs.

Spotlight on research

AMC Principal Professor Neil Bose added: “This contract will inject a further $2.5 million into the Tasmanian economy each year and is a result of the successful commercial professionalism brought to AMC through AMC Search. The commercial hire of the

PPB trainees take the helm at AMC’s ship simulator – this facility is used for navigation, radar and bridge resource management courses. University’s facilities and services at AMC will allow for 16 core training courses to be delivered to about 150 - 160 trainees per year.” AMC Search has held the PPB training contract since 1992, during which time it has trained 4064 students in courses ranging from electronics and communications to cooking and hygiene. The trainees will also be

provided with 24-hour pastoral care and support while they gain their qualifications. The Pacific Island nations participating in the PPB program are: Kiribati, Palau, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands, Republic of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands.

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“AMC, with strong support from the University of Tasmania at all levels, has an agenda to build on its national mandate and international presence, nurture the professional development of its staff and strengthen its academic profile,” he said. “AMC aspires to national and international renown in maritime training, education and research, strong industry connections and leading edge, innovative solutions.” The Chairman of the AMC Board, Dr Michael Vertigan AC, said it was a time of significant opportunity for AMC now that its integration with UTAS was complete with the official acceptance by then Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Mr Anthony Albanese, of the final post-integration report. “AMC is poised to play a key part in maritime workforce reform, which is a major national initiative,” Dr Vertigan said.

Cooperation Program, with 22 patrol boats gifted to 12 nations between 1987 and 1997. UTAS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Rathjen, said: “This welcome announcement is the second recent national reaffirmation of AMC’s status as a centre for excellence in seafarer training. It will have a significant impact on the northern economy and support jobs at AMC Search.”

Professor Bose said he was extremely enthusiastic about leading AMC through an exciting time of revitalisation, change and development.

“The Board has recently revitalised the strategic mission of AMC to embrace high-quality maritime education and training, high-quality research, enhanced industry and stakeholder engagement, and a greater emphasis on collaboration both nationally and internationally.” UTAS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Rathjen, welcomed Professor Bose’s appointment. “It is very satisfying to find that after a worldwide search the best person to steer AMC into a new era is the person already at the helm. I have every confidence that Neil will take the AMC to a new level as an institute of local, national and international renown.”



AMC on track for an exciting future How should AMC engage closely and meaningfully with its industry and research stakeholders? How should we maximise the opportunities within the University of Tasmania in building a more effective and successful relationship? How should we build on our worldwide reputation? These are just some of the key questions we face as we work towards AMC’s vision: maritime excellence; industry connected; pioneering solutions.

The Strategic Industry Group (L-R): Tim Asome (ASP Ship Management), Dev Ranmuthugala (AMC), Simon Earle (Maritime Employees Training Ltd), Tony Cousins (PB Towage), Tony Wilks (Tony Wilks & Associates Pty Ltd), Neil Bose (AMC Principal), Dr Darryl Hull (Transport & Logistics Centre), Martin Crees-Morris (AMC), Mal Larsen (Australian Maritime Safety Authority), Marcus Bowles (AMC). Apologies: Rod Pickett (Maritime Union of Australia) and David Anderson (Ports Australia).

Direction of seafarer training the focus of industry meeting A

MC’s Ports & Shipping Strategic Industry Group (SIG) met in Launceston in May to discuss the major issues affecting the maritime industry.

maritime census that confirmed the seagoing workforce is ageing. It provides the government with 14 recommendations to prevent a national workforce shortage.

The group consists of highlevel key industry stakeholders, and its purpose is to provide AMC senior staff with guidance and direction on seafarer and related maritime industry training.

This strategy will influence what training AMC delivers with the $12 million VET funding boost announced by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

The meeting addressed the options for seafarer training across Australia, including the implications from the Federal Government’s recently released Australian Maritime Workforce Development Strategy. The strategy was developed in response to the findings of a

Options include delivering seafaring, maritime logistics, marine engineering and port operation training across Australia, in partnership with interstate training providers and industry groups. The meeting also discussed the additional $5 million Federal Government funding to assist

Above Board is the bi-annual newsletter of The Australian Maritime College, circulated to around 10,000 alumni and other stakeholders worldwide. Contributions are welcome. Contact For course enquiries visit For intending International students, detailed information on the content of these and other UTAS courses, campuses, facilities, fees, refund policy, rules of admission and assessment, the ESOS Framework and an overview of the local Tasmanian environment, please visit the UTAS International Students website. Please be advised that not all courses offered by UTAS are available to Overseas/ International Students. CRICOS code 00586B



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the existing Australian shipping fleet to meet its future workforce training needs. This will include meeting the growing demand within the oil and gas industry and possible collaboration with the Royal Australian Navy. AMC Principal, Neil Bose said: “The work of the SIG is aimed at answering the questions such as: is AMC heading in the right direction and can AMC’s operations and delivery of training be improved? “It was clear from the discussions that the maritime industry is strongly supportive of AMC and the training that it provides. We highly value the input that the SIG members have provided to this discussion.”

At school I wondered about going to sea and probably would have done if not prevented by a propensity to sea sickness and by my sight which meant I could not, at the time, be a deck officer. I eventually chose maritime engineering because I wanted to design and build things, especially small craft, and I have been a partner in a boatyard building and repairing boats. I have worked on numerous research projects with industry partners and published extensively from this work. I am an acknowledged world expert in marine propulsion who has questioned and provided alternatives for ship powering performance prediction. I see abundant opportunities for AMC to take the lead in the development of seafarer training, at both a national and international level. Similarly, we deliver specialist maritime engineering and maritime business courses and there is an opportunity for us to play a wider role in the design of this education, and to be a leading research institute in all of these fields. Pockets of AMC’s courses and research are unique at an international level. We send undergraduates to sea for significant periods as part of their maritime engineering and marine conservation degrees. Few undergraduate maritime

from the principal engineering courses provide access to hydrodynamic testing tanks. There are major opportunities open in developing leading-edge studies into problems of key relevance to our industry stakeholders. I hear these issues raised, and I have been asked how AMC can assist. So how are we going to achieve this change in outlook and activity? Well, we started two to three years ago by increasing the number of research higher degree scholarships such that our student body has doubled in this period and is continuing to grow. With industry partners, we have students working on fatigue of mariners, communication errors in maritime English, ocean renewable energy, maritime law, propulsion of highspeed ferries, aquatic fish health and much more. Through academic staff renewal initiatives at the University, AMC will search nationally and internationally for at least six senior academic staff over 2013-14. Their role will be to lead reform in curriculum for training and education and to mentor strong research growth in areas of relevance to AMC’s industry stakeholders. The first of these joined in February and the second is expected to join later this year. Two will be the new Directors of the National Centre for Ports and Shipping and the National Centre for Maritime Engineering and Hydrodynamics. Several will be qualified in a relevant seafaring discipline. It is an exciting future and one on which I plan to update you through these columns as our plans unfold. I am looking forward to working with you and would be very happy to answer any questions you might have, best routed through email to me:

Industry advice invaluable to AMC The Industry Advisory Committee for the National Centre for Maritime Engineering and Hydrodynamics (NCMEH) held its first meeting for 2013 on campus in May. Representatives from the Department of Defence, DSTO, INTECSEA and the University of Ballarat joined Principal Neil Bose, Acting Director Giles Thomas and other key staff from the national centre. The Advisory Committee was formed three years ago in response to a recommendation from Engineers Australia to ensure strategic input at a high level and access to wider opportunities.

“We always welcome input from our advisory committee; it is essential in forming our long-term strategy. We have a diverse mix of members from across industry, and even from another university, so we get a nice balance of views,” Associate Professor Thomas said. He said the meeting had also given committee members the opportunity to consult with students. “They enjoy the opportunity to meet with our students because it helps them get a clear idea of what is happening in our programs and how our students are progressing. That kind of feedback is invaluable.”

Associate Professor Kim Dowling, Associate Professor Giles Thomas, Dr Stuart Cannon, Adjunct Professor Yuriy Drobyshevski, Professor Neil Bose and Martin Grimm.

Study to probe tech role in teaching Dr Jiangang Fei has been awarded a Teaching Development Grant by the University of Tasmania’s Learning and Teaching Committee.

photo: chris crerar

International recognition for excellence in maritime education Staff in Focus


nura Seneviratne’s commitment to excellence in maritime training has been recognised with a prestigious international award from industry magazine Sailor Today. AMC’s Head of Department: Maritime Training took home the Maritime Trainer of the Year award at the 12th Sailor Today/Ship Shore Industry Award function, held in India and attended by maritime professionals from around the world. Sailor Today is a monthly international shipping magazine based in India and widely read by maritime professionals from South and South-East Asia.

Captain Seneviratne (pictured) joined AMC in 1990 following a 17-year seagoing career. He gained considerable experience as a senior lecturer and course coordinator of deck officer programs before being appointed to his current role leading the maritime training department. Maintaining AMC’s links with Asia has been a priority for Captain Seneviratne over the years, and he was very pleased to accept the award in front of his peers. “There were more than 1500 maritime professionals from around the world at the function and I was enjoying

“There are more than 200 maritime training institutions in South Asia alone, so it is very rewarding for us to be recognised for our maritime training on such a global scale.” many valuable networking opportunities. Imagine my surprise when my name was called out,” Captain Seneviratne said. “It is a big achievement for AMC. They were not just talking about maritime trainer

of the year in India or the subcontinent; professionals from all over Asia, Europe and other parts of the world were present as well.” Captain Seneviratne said the award was recognition of the team effort by academic and professional staff, and acknowledgment of AMC’s strong international reputation. “There are more than 200 maritime training institutions in South Asia alone, so it is very rewarding for us to be recognised for our maritime training on such a global scale.”

Jiangang Fei

The Institutional Significance grant will see Dr Fei, a lecturer and researcher with the Department of Maritime and Logistics Management, investigate “the transformative role of Echo360 on learning and teaching” during 2013. Echo360 is a teaching supplement that can be used to create audio or screen podcasts for playback by students. Dr Fei said that, while Echo360 was already in place at UTAS, the overall usage was low and varied significantly across faculties and schools. “I used Echo360 in one of my units last year and received some interesting comments from students,” he said. “I felt a research project would provide a better understanding of the roles of Echo360 on learning and teaching, thus promoting the use of the technology across UTAS with confidence.” Dr Fei’s project team also includes Drs Chris Chin and Irene Penesis, from the National Centre for Maritime Engineering and Hydrodynamics, Carey Mather, from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Education Developer Chris Allen and Learning Services Co-ordinator Leah Chandler. By the end of the project the group hopes to achieve a good understanding of the impact of Echo360 on student learning including learning behaviour, performance and student retention; as well as an understanding of lecturers’ perceptions about the impacts of the technology on teaching.

Staff in Focus Mathematics lecturer Dr Christopher Chin has beaten thousands of nominees Christopher Chin to be named Australia’s Lecturer of the Year. The award, now in its sixth year, is an initiative of, and aims to reward the efforts of diligent academic staff that have helped enrich the lives of students and work colleagues. More than 100,000 votes were cast online, making it the most popular award to date. Dr Chin is no stranger to the Lecturer of the Year award, securing third place in last year’s rankings and second the year before.

Fish Health Laboratory Manager Karine Cadoret has been recognised for outstanding karine cadoret service with a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Exceptional Performance by Professional Staff. These awards are made to professional staff members who make an outstanding contribution which exceeds the normal requirements of their employment. Karine was nominated for her work with the Aquatic Animal Health Group, including developing and implementing systems and processes that have created business efficiencies while maintaining high-quality research and provision of training.

Dr Alex Forrest has joined us as a Lecturer in Ocean Engineering He comes from a varied background using Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) to explore problems in environmental fluid mechanics and aquatic chemistry. alex forrest

Specifically he uses innovative engineering techniques to conduct novel science experiments in challenging environments. His work has taken him to the polar regions exploring a variety of forms of ice including lake-ice, sea-ice, glacial ice tongues and icebergs. Several of the lessons learnt have

bridged into other disciplines such as benthic habitat mapping, seafloor surveying to as far afield as space exploration. His current research interest is the use of AUVs as data collection platforms for examining water column hydrodynamics and benthic habitat mapping (using both image and acoustic techniques). Dr Forrest holds a Doctorate in Civil Engineering (Environmental Fluid Mechanics University of British Columbia), M. A.Sc. in Civil Engineering (Pollution Control University of British Columbia), B.Sc. Environmental Science (McMaster University) and B. Eng. in Chemical Engineering and Society (McMaster University).

Professor Faisal Khan has joined us as Professor of Environmental, Safety & Risk Engineering faisal khan from his previous post at Memorial University, Newfoundland where he was Chair, Process Engineering. He has authored four books and more than 100 internationally-refereed research papers. His research interests include safety and risk engineering, environmental risk modeling, life cycle analysis, computer aided process plant design and inherent safety.

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Support for international food trade

Regional and international trade in food is constrained by incoherent, conflicting food inspection and certification arrangements, resulting in inefficient and disparate markets and unnecessary product rejections and waste. A harmonised and practical approach is needed for the education and training of government and industry professionals engaged in the regulation and management of food inspection and certification systems in the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states. Since 2003, AMC has been providing technical assistance to food administrations in ASEAN, particularly Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam. A major output of this cooperation is a compendium of model courses for the training of food inspection professionals. The design and drafting of these resources has been an international collaborative effort led by David Milne from the National Centre for Marine Conservation and Resource Sustainability. In May this year, representatives from all countries gathered in Yangon, Myanmar, to plan the rollout of the model courses across ASEAN. A program of training and mentoring of lecturers in relevant institutions throughout the region will be implemented over the next year. This capacity building provides “bottom up” support to complement previous “top down” regulatory reform initiatives. While the project will benefit all ASEAN nations, Myanmar will be particularly strengthened as its recent political reforms provide it with greater access to international markets. The project is now in its third phase and is being implemented under the auspices of the ASEAN Expert Group on Food Safety and with financial assistance from AusAID. The project is a component of a longterm strategy for the delivery of AMC technical expertise in the international market, managed by AMC Search and with strategic and overseas field support by its partner, AMSAT International. Article contributed by Jim Travers AMSAT International. E:; M: 0438 200 560

Technical officer Deb Harrison checks out the new filtration equipment installed at the Aquaculture Centre.

photo: chris crerar

Centre upgrades a boost for aquaculture research A

$350,000 investment by the University of Tasmania has increased efficiencies and improved the research capabilities of the Aquaculture Centre at AMC. National Centre for Marine Conservation and Resource Sustainability (NCMCRS) Director, Associate Professor John Purser, welcomed the upgrades and said it was pleasing to see the facility acknowledged as a valuable asset. Aquaculture Centre manager Dr Mark Adams said improvements had been made in the areas of animal welfare and biosecurity, as well as the health and safety of staff and students.

“The updates to our filtration systems will benefit the welfare of our fish by providing a high water quality environment,” Dr Adams said. “We have also improved user space access, air conditioning and electrical safety within the centre.” Associate Professor Purser said the upgrades would enhance both the undergraduate and postgraduate student experience. “Our undergraduates will now get to see up-to-date filtration technology in action, which will assist learning during practical classes. “Importantly, the configuration of the systems allows coursework students to

“Our undergraduates will now get to see up-to-date filtration technology in action, which will assist learning during practical classes.” care for tanks of fish without impacting on-site research. The improvements ensure systems efficiencies, benefiting the research undertaken by our postgraduate students and staff.” The increased capability will also benefit other faculties and institutes of the University of Tasmania, including the recently launched Centre for Food Innovation.

“Now that we can show industry improved systems, we believe they will strengthen their engagement in the applied research carried out in the centre,” Associate Professor Purser said. “The centre has for over 25 years provided research services to many sectors of the Australian aquaculture industry, but specifically the Tasmanian salmonid industry. We have also doubled our tropical research space currently accommodating barramundi and prawn projects. “There are very few aquaculture facilities in Australia that have the ability to host both tropical and temperate species on one site.”

Fish health workshop fosters international collaboration The spirit of international collaboration was alive and well when AMC hosted the ASP Parasitic Diseases in Fish Mariculture Workshop.

More than 30 industry, university and public service delegates attended the workshop, which was organised by Professor Barbara Nowak and hosted by the aquatic animal health research group. International guest speakers Professor Kazuo Ogawa, from Meguro Parasitological Museum in Tokyo, delivered a presentation on ‘Blood fluke infections of farmed Pacific Bluefin Tuna’; and Dr Sho Shirakashi from Kinki University Fisheries Laboratory in Wakayama, 4

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Japan, gave a talk on ‘New possibilities of reducing skin fluke infection in net cage mariculture’.

Professor Ogawa said that everyone in the mariculture industry faced similar problems and it was important to share what was learned. Presentations were also given by local researchers on a variety of topics, including techniques to combat the scourge of many fish farms - amoebic gill disease (AGD). Associate Professor Tom Cribb, from the University of Queensland, focussed on ‘Progress and problems with marine blood fluke life cycles’ – a project he collaborated on with Professor Nowak.

“Our research helped lead to changes in farming practic es. I focussed on the implications of our findings – how the techniques might be applied to other lifecycles,’’ Associate Professor Cribb said. Professor Nowak said that the response to the workshop had been fantastic. “It has highlighted the fact that there are many synergies in our research – we are often tackling the same issues, just from different angles,’’ she said. The two-day workshop was sponsored by the Australian Society for Parasitology and industry partners Petuna and Tassal.

Professor Kazuo Ogawa, from Meguro Parasitological Museum in Tokyo, Associate Professor Tom Cribb, of University of Queensland. Front: Dr Sho Shirakashi from Kiniki University Fisheries Laboratory in Wakayama, Japan, and Professor Barbara Nowak, of University of Tasmania.

Breaking the ice: carving out a new career alumni in Focus

A change of direction has put Katrina Beams at the helm of Australia’s Antarctic flagship.


atrina Beams’ mother can’t believe her little girl in frilly socks has gone on to punch through ice in Antarctica. Ms Beams, 35, still struggles to believe it herself, having never expected she would one day be at the helm of Australia’s Antarctic flagship. As third mate on the Aurora Australis, Ms Beams spends eight hours a day navigating the 3911-tonne research and resupply ship through ice up to 1.23 metres thick. She has also acted as a safety officer on the ship which, according to the federal government’s Antarctic division, can roll up to 45 degrees in big swells, making the angle of the deck steeper than any street in the country. “It’s a big responsibility, you have up to 140 people on board, and their lives, and a very expensive ship, are in your control,” Ms Beams said. She said the unpredictable nature of the job, and the harsh environment she navigated, meant she was always learning.

“Understanding the differences in the ice takes a lot of time – you need to know about areas of pressure, thickness and the weather conditions and what impact they’ll have on the ice,” she said. “You have to choose the best route by seeing where the ice is likely to be thinnest. The ship has a flatter hull, meaning you literally come up on to the ice and break it out. If you’re in the lower hull it sounds like metal on metal, or fingers on a chalkboard.” Ms Beams said there were a lot of positives working on the Aurora Australis. “I only have to work half a year because I get one day off for every day I work, and I get to go to places anyone else would spend thousands of dollars to see,” Ms Beams said.

Katrina Beams counts herself lucky to witness the ever-changing Antarctic landscape as third mate on the Aurora Australis.

“The first time I saw Antarctica it was just amazing, and it still is amazing, every minute – especially because it’s daylight all the time, you can look out the porthole and see so much change in the landscape, 24 hours a day.” Article courtesy of the Launceston Examiner.

Swell life in offshore oil and gas Top medal for wave industry beckons engineer wake research A team from the National Centre for Maritime Engineering and Hydrodynamics (NCMEH) has been awarded a prestigious international award by the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA).

Christopher Hawtone with AMC Principal Neil Bose; the Provost, Professor David Rich; and Chair of the Academic Senate, Professor Dianne Nicol. Ocean engineering graduate Christopher Hawtone has commenced the next chapter of his life in Norway after leaving AMC with the well wishes of his peers and a swag of prizes. Chris was admitted to the Bachelor of Engineering (Ocean Engineering) degree with FirstClass Honours and he was also awarded a University Medal. In recognition of his high achievement, he was included on the 2012 Principal’s Roll of Excellence and received a special citation for having been included on the Roll for each of the four years of his degree. In





awarded the following prizes: •

The Connell Medal, awarded to the outstanding AMC graduate at Bachelor level;

The Captain Thomas Swanson Prize, awarded to the outstanding graduate from a degree program in each AMC national centre.

The Jan Soeholt Prize, awarded for excellence in studies in the Bachelor of Engineering (Ocean Engineering) degree.

Not surprisingly, given his academic record, Chris did not have to knock on many doors to secure full-time employment on graduation.

In May 2012, he was offered a job in Norway working as a graduate project engineer with a company called Ocean Installer, which specialises in the design and installation of sub-sea equipment for the offshore oil and gas industry. The job offer came from Ocean Installer’s Engineering Manager, Joel Ireland, himself an AMC graduate (2006). Chris started work in the “Oil Capital of Norway”, the city of Stavanger, on February 11.

See the back page for a full listing of the 2012 Prize Winners.

Lead author Alex Robbins graduated from AMC in 2011 with a Master of Philosophy in Hydrodynamics. He is currently a PhD candidate whose thesis is undergoing examination. Alex is now working for DMS Maritime in Sydney as the engineering manager for a $200 million ship acquisition program for the Commonwealth. The award, a Medal of Distinction, is presented to the authors of papers of merit published by RINA in the International Journal of Maritime Engineering (IJME). The paper, titled “Subcritical Wave Wake Unsteadiness”, was co-authored by AMC’s Associate Professor Giles Thomas, Professor Martin Renilson and Dr Gregor Macfarlane, as well as Dr Ian Dand, of BMT Isis in the UK. “Previous wash experiments showed signs of unsteadiness within the results. It was decided to further investigate this phenomenon to determine the possible causes and effect on

Alex Robbins other wash results,” Mr Robbins said. “The results are detailed fully within the IJME paper, but the key outcome was that the recorded unsteadiness was primarily due to soliton generation.” The group was invited to London to officially receive their medal from the RINA President at the Institution’s annual general meeting in April. Mr Robbins said that he valued being recognised by the industry and saw this as a fitting end to his studies. “I have promised my wife that, after 11 years of post-grad study, I will do no more degrees,’’ he said. “But I may do a little postdoctoral work….” issue 4


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ARC Linkage funding for two research projects The Australian Maritime College will be involved in research ranging from a major advance in the technology of bulk ore transhipment to proving primary school students can solve university-level maths problems following the announcement of national funding of projects valued at $645,000. The two projects have been funded as part of the Australian Research Council’s 2013 Linkage Projects round.

1985 marine engineering graduates Paul Swan, Paul Moir, Ken Norris, Bob Fraser and Jonathon Wilkinson.

Marine engineering reunion tour a blast from the past A group of AMC alumni took a step back in time for a reunion tour of the Newnham campus. Seven members of the first cohort of Bachelor of Applied Science (Marine Engineering) graduates (1985) were taken on a tour of facilities by Dr Elizabeth Vagg, who said the group were like “excited youngsters again” as they caught up with friends, lecturers and colleagues from the past. Reunion



Norris said that, while the idea of a reunion tour had been discussed for a while, it was a chance meeting with a fellow 1985 graduate on board a vessel that had finally prompted action. Tour group member Paul Swan said that there had definitely been a lot of changes on campus since 1985. “There are now a lot more buildings and facilities. The student residences and the

Scholarships help engineer better naval architects


cademic excellence has paid off for two naval architecture students, with Reuben Kent and Samuel Smith each receiving prestigious awards as part of the Civilian Defence Engineering Scholarships Scheme (CDESS). CDESS is offered by the Department of Defence to students in the second year of a four-year naval architecture degree. The scholarship is valued at $12,000 a year for three years and includes two 12-week paid industry work placements within the Navy and Defence Materiel Organisation. The award aims to attract talented engineering students to an Australian Public Service career with the Department


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of Defence. Applicants are assessed on academic merit and a variety of key personal qualities and skills, and they receive professional mentoring for the life of the scholarship. Reuben and Samuel were officially presented with scholarship certificates by Martin Grimm, the Principal Naval Architect from the Directorate of Navy Platform Systems, at a ceremony that was also attended by past AMC CDESS recipients Caitlin Hoey and Lauchlan Clarke. Both Reuben and Samuel said the scholarships would make a big difference, both financially and in terms of work placements.

survival centre were only under construction during our first and second years attending AMC,” Mr Swan said. One of the highlights of the group’s visit was the chance to get hands-on experience in the ship and tug simulators. The group agreed that the onsite reunion had prompted many memories of the “good times” at AMC – including their time as residents of Investigator Hall.

Mr Swan recalled it had been all hands on deck in 1983 for a Royal visit by Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. He said that staying in touch with fellow alumni had always proven to be beneficial. “Taking the time to be a part of events like this (reunion) can help you keep abreast of developments and opportunities for yourself and others in the marine engineering field and various related companies.”

Dr Gregor Macfarlane will lead a team investigating “The ship within a ship: new-generation transhipment of bulk ore products” thanks to a $270,000 ARC grant plus $150,000 cash and in-kind support from industry partner Sea Transport Corporation. “This project will develop one of the most significant advances in decades in the technology of bulk ore transhipment,” Dr Macfarlane said. “It will allow Australia’s mining export industry, particularly small to medium sized companies in remote locations, to become more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly.” Dr Macfarlane will be supported by maritime engineering academics Professor Neil Bose, Dr Irene Penesis and Dr Jonathan Duffy. The second project, “Calculus in the real world: transforming the way we teach mathematics in primary education”, led by Dr Andrew Fluck from the Faculty of Education has received a $150,000 ARC grant plus $75,000 cash and in-kind support from industry partner Australian Scientific & Engineering Solutions. Dr Fluck will be supported by a team of AMC academics including Associate Professor Dev Ranmuthugala, Dr Chris Chin and Dr Irene Penesis.

Past CDESS recipients Lauchlan Clarke and Caitlin Hoey with current recipients Samuel Smith and Reuben Kent. “It can be hard to line up a suitable work placement, so this is a fantastic opportunity,” Reuben said. A boat-builder by trade, he said that naval architecture had seemed like the natural next step for him. Samuel, from Western Australia, said he was overwhelmed to have been chosen to receive the scholarship. “It’s the first academic award I have ever received, so to get something like this is amazing. The financial aid included in the scholarship will ease a lot of stress while I am studying.” Caitlin and Lauchlan took the opportunity to share the

benefit of their scholarship experiences with the pair. “I enjoyed my experience so much that I have applied for next year’s Defence graduate program,’’ Lauchlan said. Caitlin, who did her first work placement in Canberra over the 2012/13 summer, said that the graduate program provided a fantastic networking opportunity. “The current graduates have been a great source of advice and knowledge for me,” she said. Applications for the next CDESS round are expected to open to second-year naval architecture students in mid2014.

“This project will demonstrate that, with the aid of computers, primary school students can solve university-level advanced mathematics problems,” Dr Chin said. “After studying with multimedia teaching materials and specialised software, the students will undertake a university engineering examination – and pass with flying colours!” AMC Associate Dean (Research), Dr Chris Bolch, welcomed the funding. “These two projects are part of the University of Tasmania’s overall ARC research funding pool of $3.4 million; an impressive result given the competitiveness of the linkage project grants. “It is reassuring to see that the quality of our research continues to be recognised at a national and international level,” he said.

SA grant for ecological impact of wave energy converters PhD candidate Cher Harte has received a Lirabenda Endowment Fund Research Grant from the Field Naturalists Society of South Australia to make a preliminary assessment of the benthic and noise impacts of a wave energy converter on marine species native to South Australian coastal habitats. Cher’s cross discipline PhD project showcases many of AMC’s diverse marine specialisations. She completed her undergraduate and honours qualifications in the marine environment field, but has bridged the gap to the maritime

engineering and hydrodynamics for her PhD. While only the preliminary assessment has been funded under the 12-month Lirabenda grant, her full project encompasses both the before and after of potential ecological impacts of wave energy converters. “I’ll be looking at what effects converters might have on the benthic community by doing sediment samples before and after a converter installation,” she said. “I’ll also be doing some work on fish biodiversity and abundance in the region to see if there are

any changes, as well as looking at fouling communities (things that might foul settlement plates when they are installed) and noise levels.” Cher said that she considered herself lucky to have four supervisors for her project – two each from AMC’s engineering and marine environment national centres. “Not only do I have access to an incredible pool of expertise in the area of marine renewables, and marine conservation specialists, but being at AMC means that I also

Support grows for kelp forest research

have access to an incredible range of facilities to assist me with the project outcomes.” Cher went on her first sampling trip in May and the foundation of the wave energy converter is expected to be installed on-site in October. “AMC has been involved in the area of renewable energy for a while now and it looks like it’s an area that is really going to take off. My project will help provide even more data for the future from a marine conservation point of view.”

US trip unearths best practice in wastewater recycling Thanks to a scholarship from Water Quality Research Australia (WQRA), Simon Perraton, of the National Centre for Marine Conservation and Resource Sustainability, recently travelled to Southern California to visit the world’s largest wastewater purification system facility for indirect potable reuse. WQRA PhD Scholarships are awarded to students with exceptional potential who are undertaking a higher degree by research. Simon’s scholarship application was supported by the Ben Lomond Water Corporation in Launceston.

Dr Jeff Wright (pictured below) and Professor Craig Johnson have received funding to research whether healthy kelp forests engineer their environment to ensure their survival. Kelp picture courtesy of Emma Flukes.

spotlight on research


wo institutes of the University of Tasmania are on the frontline of kelp research in Australia, thanks to a Discovery Project Grant from the Australian Research Council. Lead investigator Professor Craig Johnson, from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), will work with AMC’s Dr Jeff Wright on a project entitled “Dynamic resilience and stability properties of marine systems: the importance of environmentengineered feedbacks in kelp forests”. They will team up with collaborators from the University of Technology in Sydney and the University of Georgia in the United States. The project will determine whether healthy kelp forests engineer their environment to make conditions more suitable for their continued survival, thus increasing their stability and resilience in response to anthropogenic threats. “We are looking at the internal dynamics of a kelp forest, and whether the structure of the kelp forest itself drives the way in which it reproduces,

“Around the world, when wastewater cannot be reused or recycled, it is treated and disposed to either lakes, rivers or the ocean. While Australia’s states and territories have set targets to increase wastewater recycling, my project is looking at the barriers which may slow progress

He makes a useful comparison to terrestrial forest to put the importance of kelp into context. “Imagine a baby eucalypt plant out in a paddock on its own. It’s probably more vulnerable to stressful environmental factors out there than it would be if it was surrounded by other plants in an established forest. “And in a forest the plant will grow to a certain extent, but then it will rely on some sort of disturbance (tree falling down) to create light – and then it grows. The same things apply with kelp.” While cataclysmic events like storms can have an impact on both aquatic and terrestrial forests, it is the resilience of a healthy kelp population that the team will focus on. Dr Wright said that it was in Australia’s best interest to maintain healthy and vibrant kelp forests. “Like terrestrial forests, healthy kelp forests provide habitat for hundreds of other species, from fish right through to microscopic invertebrates of all kinds.

He is undertaking a multidisciplinary project that involves law, science and economics. Entitled “Cross jurisdictional barriers to the efficient and effective recycling and reuse of wastewater not currently being considered in Australian law reform”, his research aims to investigate the laws that govern the water cycle in Australia and to determine if regulation and policies are creating a barrier to the uptake of wastewater recycling schemes. It looks at a range of case studies in Tasmania, New South Wales, Western Australia and California.

grows and expands,” Professor Johnson explained.

“In Tasmania, kelp forests are really important in the maintenance of rock lobster and abalone fisheries. While abalone eats kelp, predators like rock lobster rely on kelp for habitat. “We can better manage our kelp forests if we know how the baby plants survive, and how their rates of survivorship feedback to determine the resilience of those populations.” The ARC Discovery Grant will support two PhD candidates and a research assistant to work on the project at IMAS and AMC. This is Dr Wright and Professor Johnson’s second three-year Discovery Project grant on a collaborative kelp project. They received their first grant for a project on the response of kelp populations to climate change stressors.

PHD candidate Cher Harte has received a research grant.

Simon Perraton at Los Angeles’ largest wastewater treatment plant, Hyperion Treatment Plant. towards increasing recycling and decreasing wastewater discharge,’’ Simon said. “Despite Southern California’s exponential population growth, research has shown that pollutant inputs to coastal waters have actually decreased. It’s an amazing achievement. “Wastewater reuse, water conservation and pollution management practices have allowed toxic contaminants and metals to be significantly reduced when compared to 1970s emissions samples.” Simon has both a science and a law degree, and has practiced as a solicitor in environmental law. “Having this broad background helps me to understand both the impacts of disposed wastewater on the marine environment as well as the laws and regulations governing water management in Australia,’’ he said.

upcoming events AMC Open Day: Don’t miss the boat! AMC Open Day will be held at both the Launceston and Beauty Point campuses on Sunday, 25 August. Find out more about your study options, tour worldclass facilities, chat to staff and current students and view hands-on demonstrations, among other great activities. For further details and a complete timetable of events, please visit

IAMU Annual General Assembly: The International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU) will hold its 15th Annual General Assembly in Launceston from 27-30 October, 2014. The theme of the assembly is “Looking Ahead…

Innovation in Maritime Training, Education and Research” and topics for discussion include: •

Changes to shipboard tasks and skills, and innovative shipboard organisational structures to meet these challenges.

The relevance of STCW and its “traditional” certificate of competency approach/structure for existing and future seafarers.

Innovative approaches to learning and teaching, scholarship and research now and into the future.

AMC is one of the seven founding members of IAMU.

issue 4


above board 7

Research into renewables recognised Engineering PhD graduate, Dr Alan Fleming, has been awarded AMC’s prestigious 2012 Rob Lewis Medal in recognition of his outstanding research.


he Rob Lewis Medal commemorates the contribution to AMC of Professor Rob Lewis, Chair of the Australian Maritime College Council, 1997 - 2004. It is awarded annually for excellence in postgraduate research.

marine renewable energy company Oceanlinx to perfect a unique and commercially-efficient device for extracting wave energy and converting it to electricity or, alternatively, using it to desalinate sea water.

Dr Fleming left the Navy in 2005 to undertake a Bachelor of Engineering (Ocean Engineering) at AMC as he wanted to take on a new challenge. He graduated in 2012 with a PhD in Maritime Engineering.

Called an Oscillating Water Column (OWC), the device captures wave energy within a partially submerged chamber that extends from just below the surface of the water to a reasonable height above the surface.

“I am motivated by sustainability,” Dr Fleming said. “After completing my undergraduate degree, I resisted finding employment in the oil and gas industry and instead commenced my PhD in the field of ocean renewable energy. I think that wave energy will be an important source of renewable energy in the future.”

Associate Dean (Research) Chris Bolch presents Dr Alan Fleming with the Rob Lewis medal while parents Ann and Keith Fleming look on.





His parents, Ann and Keith Fleming from Toowoomba, Queensland, also attended the ceremony.

awards & prizes Outstanding achievement in Advanced Diploma of Applied Science (Nautical Science) Group A: Asanka Rajapaske Group B: Mark Pearce Group C: Theodore Raptis ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY PRIZE Ramon Lee Mayne ASP SHIP MANAGEMENT ‘SAM MARSH’ PRIZE Kirsteen Roberts Outstanding achievement in Diploma of Applied Science (Deck Watchkeeper) Group A: KirsteenRoberts Group B: Matthew Burke Group C: Robert Luxford TEEKAY SHIPPING PRIZE Mark Pearce WORCESTER MEMORIAL AWARD Rowan Michael Fitch David Lewis Evans TEEKAY SHIPPING SEA TRANSPORT PRIZE Ashleigh Susan Harris

THE JAN SOEHOLT PRIZE Christopher Michael Hawtone


above board | issue 4

Dr Fleming was presented with his prize by Associate Dean (Research), Chris Bolch, at the launch of AMC’s Research Seminar Series.

Students get a taste 2012 of industry experience



Dr Fleming is part of a team of researchers from the National Centre for Maritime Engineering and Hydrodynamics who are working with Sydney-based international

Wave-induced vertical oscillation of the water column inside the chamber displaces the air above, causing a bi-directional flow past a turbine that drives an electrical generator.



Two ocean engineering students are working hand-in-hand with industry on projects that will benefit Australia’s vast network of subsea pipelines. Jack Francis and Yee Lim are working with Subcon Technologies Pty Ltd on two projects that will help validate the design calculations of the company’s stabilisation and protection mattresses. The mattresses are designed to stabilise subsea pipelines and structures and protect them from scour, currents and dropped objects. Subcon Technologies, based in Perth WA, specialises in providing subsea stabilisation and marine grouting services for offshore and near shore industries. Alumni member and Subcon Managing Director Matthew Allen approached AMC with the project because of its world-class staff and facilities. “These types of projects build companies’ technical capability and therefore their competitive advantage as producers, exporters and employers,” Matthew said.


For his part in the project, Jack is testing articulated concrete mattress models in AMC’s circulating water channel at Beauty Point.


“It is my job to determine the lift and drag co-efficients of each mattress block as the flow passes over it. I am running a series of tests at a variety of velocities,” he said.


The results from Jack’s tests are used to validate a Computational Fluid Dynamics model being created by Yee. Matthew said the ability to minimise concrete usage had environmental

Ocean engineering students Jack Francis and Yee Lim on work experience at Subcon. benefits as well as impacting fabrication, transport and installation costs. “The results are particularly relevant to the offshore oil and gas industry, offshore wind farms, aquaculture and the cable industry where Subcon’s articulated concrete mattresses are used to stabilise subsea structures, pipelines and umbilicals.” Both Yee and Jack have also completed work experience secondments with the company, which involved spending time in Portland, Victoria, assisting with the fabrication of mattresses. “My work experience placement was a really valuable networking opportunity. It has given me a better understanding of the industry and how the tendering process works,” Yee said. “It has been a fantastic insight into what is a very forward-thinking industry. There’s been lots of work done on mattress design, but hardly any validation. It’s been great to be on the front line of data verification.”

Above Board Edition 4 2013  

Welcome to issue number 4 of Above Board - our bi-annual corporate newsletter.

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