The objective of this paper is to present an update of various research activities of a multi-year research and development project aiming at developing dynamic positioning (DP) system technologies specifically for ice-rich environments. Since the beginning of the project in 2014, significant progress has been made in various activities that aimed at achieving the primary project objective of improving the safety and efficiency of oil and gas operations in ice infested environments through the enhancement of existing DP system technologies for efficient operations and training of DP operators in simulated realistic ice environments by providing necessary exposure to DP operations in ice. Prototypes of multiple vessel models, ice force models, and other environmental force models have been developed and are being validated. A modularized simulation and validation platform has been developed for the integration, validation, testing of all these prototypes. The research team at the National Research Council's Ocean Coastal and River Engineering (NRC-OCRE) is on the verge of delivering the complete package of the simulation platform to the project lead, the Centre for Marine Simulation (CMS) at the Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI) of Memorial University of Newfoundland, for comprehensive checking and testing of the platform by the project commercial partner Kongsberg Digital Simulation (KDS) Ltd.
In this article, an update on various activities regarding the physical model testing, numerical modeling and development of simulation platform is presented. Various modules of the prototype validation platform and their integration are discussed along with their current development status. A brief discussion on various components of the ice force modeling approach, the algorithms and implementation strategies is provided. Finally, the initial results of a number of DP in ice simulation cases and comparison with validation data is presented. A brief outline of the work remaining to be completed for achieving the project objectives, along with the associated limitations are also provided.