Mechanical Engineering


UCL Mechanical Engineering Marine Research Group Wins 2023 Maritime Safety Award

12 June 2023

A fishing boat stability app developed by the UCL Mechanical Engineering Marine Research Group has won the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) 2023 Maritime Safety Award.

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Professor of Maritime Engineering Giles Thomas and research associate Dr Andrea Grech La Rosa took to the stage at the annual event organised by the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) to receive the award, in recognition of their significant technological contribution to improving maritime safety with their fishing boat stability app “Kora Kora”.

Welcoming the honour, Kora Kora’s lead researcher, Dr Andrea Grech La Rosa, said: “I am grateful to have the support of Professor Giles and our awesome team at UCL Mechanical Engineering to achieve such success.

“Our partners in Indonesia, namely the University of Pattimura (UOP), Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS) and the Orela shipyard also played an important part in the app’s development. They are equally thrilled to be a part of the winning team!”

“It was a memorable experience working with our counterparts in Indonesia, where we carried out the tests for Kora Kora. Students and family members of the academics all came to support and ensured that we have all the manpower and resources needed to make the experimental campaign a success.”

Kora Kora App Sea Image

During the app’s development over the past two years, the team needed to overcome a range of different challenges. These include using the processing power of outdated, entry-level mobile phones to conduct complex calculations and making the mobile application intuitive and easy to use. In particular, Dr Grech La Rosa and his team managed to develop a robust enough solution to reliably predict whether the vessel is stable.  “It's a great responsibility and we worked hard to overcome this difficulty,” he said.

“Thanks to the exposure we received from industry partners and RINA, we hope to raise awareness of fishing boat safety not only in Indonesia but in other parts of the world where fishers cannot afford to conduct traditional vessel stability experiments.

We hope to further improve the functionality of Kora Kora based on the feedback from users as well as industry experts. We also plan to work with other international partners in making the app available in different languages and improve its ease of use and accuracy.”