Brice Assimizele defends PhD thesis

On 12 June 2017, Brice Assimizele defended his PhD thesis at Molde University College (MUC). The thesis is entitled Models and algorithms for optimal dynamic allocation of patrol tugs to oil tankers along the northern Norwegian coast and qualifies Dr. Assimizele to the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Logistics (Operations Research) –Specialized in Maritime Operations.

Dr. Assimizele was supervised by SoftICE member associate professor Robin T. Bye (NTNU Ålesund), associate professor Johan Oppen (MUC), and associate chair of research and professor of operations research Johannes O. Royset (Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, USA).

The very competent evaluation committee was headed by professor Lars Magnus Hvattum (MUC), with members professor and head of NTNU Oceans Ingrid Schjølberg (NTNU Trondheim), and associate professor in the Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering Anton Kleywegt (Georgia Tech, Atlanta, USA).

About the thesis

Marine transportation of crude oil and petroleum products and its associated risk to the environment have increased significantly during the last decades. To safeguard the marine environment from potential oil spills and other damage from grounding of vessels, the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) operates a center for vessel traffic service (VTS) in the town of Vardø in northeastern Norway.

The PhD research is conducted in close collaboration with the NCA, where the primary objective is to develop models and algorithms that optimally reduce the environmental costs from oil tankers grounding accidents. This includes optimal positioning of patrol tugs in a highly dynamic and stochastic environment. We propose a flexible and efficient decision support tool to the operators at the VTS, validated with historical events, that significantly reduce environmental risk associated with drifting vessels.

The methodological approach in this research could be applied to other search and rescue or emergency response related problems.

A fascinating life journey

Brice was born in Cameroon and raised by his grandmother, who, like many of Brice’s childhood friends, could not read or write. She understood the worth of education, however, and constantly helped pushing Brice into first completing school, before a bachelor’s degree in computer science at Université de Yaoundé 1 (Cameroon), a master’s degree in logistics management at UCSI University (Malaysia), and a master’s degree in industrial logistics: operations research at MUC. Now, with a PhD in logistics (operations research) at MUC, Brice has added another scalp to his belt in what must be considered a truly fascinating life journey.

During his PhD, Brice was employed by NTNU in Ålesund, where he had his own office and performed teaching duties along with his PhD work. His work is a continuation of the SoftICE project DRAMA.

The SoftICE lab congratulates Brice on this great achievement, and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours!


The following photos are all courtesy Arild J. Waagbø, Panorama HiM. For more photos, please visit the Facebook page of Panorama.

Brice Assimizele getting ready for defense together with supervisors Johan Oppen and Robin T. Bye

Brice Assimizele.

Evaluation committee and opponents, Lars Magnus Hvattum, Ingrid Schjølberg, and Anton Kleywegt.

PhD defense by Brice Assimizele.


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