Keeping Our End of the Deal

UMT’s expertise is put to work in a strategic partnership

By Ts. Dr. Azizi Ali, Senior Research Officer, INOS

Several years back, INOS paid a simple visit to this one company, a household name in the oil and gas industry. That visit turned into something significant for both parties. It kick-started a partnership between them that has lasted till today.

For the past five years, INOS has been collaborating with the company, HidroKinetik Technologies Sdn. Bhd., providing its expertise in several marine-related projects all over the country.

INOS and HidroKinetik Technologies share many similarities in terms of the nature of their work. This has allowed the forming of the partnership between the two.

INOS is a leader in oceanographic studies and has been conducting multi-disciplinary research mostly related to the oceanographic field ever since it was first established in 2001. Now a premiere centre of excellence in the country, one of its niche research areas is in the field of seabed mapping and hydrographic mapping.

Activities related to this niche area are carried out by one of INOS’s research groups, the Ocean Mapping and Geospatial research group. The group provides data related to oceanography and seabed to other agencies, such as the Malaysian Fisheries Department, the Marine Park Department, port authorities, and the national museum.

HidroKinetik Technologies meanwhile is a leading player in providing hydrographic and geophysical surveys, marine engineering, and technical consultancy services in Southeast Asia. Well-known in the oil and gas industry, the company is part of HidroKinetik Group, which also owns Temasek Engineering, a specialist in marine sonar and telecommunication equipment, Temasek Allied Engineering, and Temasek HidroKinetik Sdn. Bhd. The company was established in 2019 to focus on the design, development, and manufacture of autonomous unmanned surface vessels (USVs).

With similar areas of specialization, INOS and HidroKinetik Technologies have been able to complement each other’s expertise during collaborative projects.

First Visit

INOS’s first visit to HidroKinetik Technologies back then was just an ordinary trip to have its research instruments serviced and repaired by the company. These were instruments INOS normally uses when conducting marine-related research, such as acoustic doppler (current profiler), current meter, and tide gauge. These instruments must always be in a good condition so they are always ready for research use.

During the visit, the company not only serviced the instruments, but it also shared with INOS useful information regarding proper maintenance of the instruments.

HidroKinetik Technologies was impressed when it found out INOS owns several other similar instruments and has been conducting large-scale hydrographic research.

The company later paid a visit to INOS to find out more about the institute. Convinced by what it saw during the visit, HidroKinetik Technologies invited INOS to carry out some of the company’s projects.

With the company trusting INOS to conduct the projects and funding them, the institute successfully conducted oceanography studies in Kuala Selangor, current mapping and wave in Sabak Bernam, Selangor, and bathymetry mapping in Paka, Terengganu, where INOS researchers studied the underwater depth of the ocean floor.

The success of these projects led HidroKinetik Technologies to allocate more of the same to INOS to carry out. And like before, INOS successfully completed each of them.

One of these was the hydrographic mapping using multibeam echo sounders in Kijal, Teregganu. Hydrographic mapping involves measuring and describing the physical features of bodies of water and the land areas adjacent to them. The main method of obtaining hydrographic data is through surveying using multibeam echo sounders.

Another project was the excavation of artefacts from the shipwreck near Bidong Island. This collaboration involved both parties providing ocean solutions via scientific research that combined a new technology and an innovative strategy.


New Opportunity for Product Introduction

The close connection with HidroKinetik Technology has also provided a new avenue for INOS to market one of its innovative products.

INOS, in collaboration with the First Institute of Oceanography (FIO), China, has developed the Malaysian Marine Forecast System (MFAST) to support maritime activities and prepare for hazards and disasters. Unlike the commercial Ocean Forecast Systems (OFS) that often lack accuracy at a local level, MFAST was designed to provide high-resolution forecast data. It is the first OFS in Malaysia to provide high-resolution ocean forecast data based on a wave-tide-circulation coupled model established by the Laboratory of Marine Sciences and Numerical Modelling at FIO.

MFAST has not only helped strengthen the partnership between INOS and HidroKinetik Technologies, but the innovative system has also helped the company collaborate with the other players in marine-related industry, such as oil and gas companies, that make use of an ocean forecast system in their daily operations.

Through the partnership, the application of MFAST is expected to widen. In addition to the system currently being used by the oil and gas companies and government agencies related to fisheries, meteorology, and marine, MFAST will soon be used by other industry players.


Partnership Formalized

Having successfully worked together in several projects over the years, INOS and HidroKinetik Technologies agreed to formalize their partnership. On 23 November 2022, both parties signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

Under the MOA, which lasts for three years, both parties agreed to work together to achieve even more than before. The two agreed to jointly conduct marine surveys and hydrographic works, award industry-standard professional certificates, expose students to the latest marine survey and inspection technology, conduct research and development as well as trial implementations, and collaborate in other areas as deemed suitable.

On the part of INOS, the institute agreed to provide expertise to carry out marine and hydrographic surveys and analyses, facilitate the deployment and handling of marine and hydrographic works between the two parties, provide scientific expertise to the industry to increase innovative solutions, and facilitate access to scientific equipment, research site, and working space for research work and student activities.

As for HidroKinetik Technologies, the company agreed to provide marine and hydrographic consultation and instruments, such as a multibeam system, a single beam system, a positioning system, and a tide gauge, provide opportunities for relevant consultancy works, and provide maintenance and repairs for INOS’s oceanography instruments.

What have been planned under the MOA are currently being implemented by INOS and HidroKinetik Technologies, and these are expected to be completed as scheduled.

Both parties will be working together for at least a couple more years, and it is highly likely the MOA will be renewed, considering the complementary nature of the relationship between the two has benefitted both thus far.

For the past five years, many research projects have been successfully completed as a result of INOS’s collaboration with HidroKinetik Technologies SDN. BHD.

A simple visit by INOS to HidroKinetik Technologies has allowed the institute to put its expertise to work and help the company many times over.


Visiting Hidrokinetik Technologies for the first time

Exploring Synergy: Hidrokinetik Technologies’ Visit to Ocean Hydro Sdn. Bhd. – Forging Innovation through the INOS and Hidrokinetik Technologies Sdn. Bhd. Partnership

Excavation of antiquities from a shipwreck off Bidong Island utilizing Hidrokinetik Technologies Sdn Bhd’s Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) – Suraya II

Dr. Kok, Tecnical Manager of Ocean Hydro Sdn. Bhd., presenting MFAST’s Web Interface to Vice Chancellor Prof. Dato’ Dr. Mazlan Abd Ghaffar and INOS Director Prof. Mohd Fadzil Mohd Akhir