Risk mitigation - aging/emerging maritime assets

Risk mitigation strategies for deterioration of aging and emerging maritime assets

Degree type


Closing date

29 October 2021



Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

About the research project

Structural deterioration has been a significant concern for the maritime industry. Corrosion causes significant detrimental effects on systems exposed to the marine environment, including oil and gas platforms, naval vessels, subsea pipelines, wave-energy converters and offshore wind structures. Biofouling also imposes adverse effects on maritime structures, for instance, on ships, by reducing their speed and manoeuvrability, which in turn increases fuel consumption and emissions of harmful gases. It has been estimated that frictional drag resulting from biofouling can reduce the speed of a ship by more than 10% and a fouled ship burns 40% more fuel. To maintain a ship from increased biofouling, cleaning of the fouling is performed during dry dock.

The development of anti-fouling and anti-corrosion technologies for marine environments is an area of intense research, given their severe economic and ecological impact on marine biofouling. Numerous anti-fouling methods have been attempted, including surface modification through coating with chemically active compounds, mimicking natural anti-fouling surfaces, engineering different surface topography, electrolytic system and ultrasonic system. However, due to the increased environmental restrictions placed on biocides and their use, there is a need for developing sustainable, environmentally friendly, and non-toxic methods to accomplish corrosion and biofouling prevention and mitigation. There is currently a knowledge gap in developing effective methods for preventing biofouling on steel surfaces immersed in seawater over prolonged operations.

This PhD project will focus on developing a novel framework for understanding the deterioration processes of emerging offshore structures and identifying the most suitable mitigative strategies, including novel surface texturing techniques. The main research objectives to be addressed include:

  • To conduct a detailed review of the deterioration processes in emerging offshore industries and their impact on availability and cost-effectiveness.
  • To provide a review of the existing knowledge in preventing and controlling fouling and corrosion with details on new techniques, methods, and technologies.
  • To test and validate the effectiveness of novel surface texturing techniques to prevent biofouling and corrosion on naval vessels and maritime infrastructure.
  • To develop a framework that minimises the overall risk associated with surface texturing for sustainable development in submerged marine systems.

It is anticipated that such a framework will enable the offshore industries better to manage the safety of their resources and operations, ensuring their sustainability into the future and when adopting new technologies.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Ehsan Arzaghi


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from international applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Applicants need to have completed one of the following degrees in Mechanical, Civil, or Maritime Engineering:

  • Australian honours degree with a First Class or 2A Honours or internationally equivalent degree
  • Masters by research degree
  • Masters by coursework degree, with at least 25% research

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • The degree must be undertaken on a full-time basis
  • Applicants must have a First-Class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector
  • Applicants must be proficient in using a programming software (e.g. Matlab, Python)
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • First-class honours for their bachelor’s degree and master’s by coursework course with research components and/or publications
  • In-depth knowledge of offshore and naval structures or structural reliability
  • Knowledge in risk and safety engineering is desirable

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select the project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Ehsan Arzaghi, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including contact details of two referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email.

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