A dynamic-positioning (DP) system can be designed to stabilize and damp the motions of a vessel when moored as well as unmoored. The vessel motion dynamic characteristics are generally significantly different when the vessel is moored as opposed to unmoored and may Vary over a wide range with changes in depth, scope, pretension, mooring pattern, and offset. In the paper, a design process is described whereby the DP controller parameters and their fictionalizations are derived for smooth stable response through the operating regime of the moored vessel. Field results from a North Sea operating drill ship are compared with predicted results, and the problems that were encountered are discussed. An augmentation scheme is presented by which the DP system will automatically back up and reinforce the holding capability of the mooring system under varying weather conditions and yet remain quiescent in calm weather.

A mooring system may be deployed to extend the holding capability of a dynamically-positioned offshore drilling rig in shallow and intermediate water depths when heavy seas are predicted and vice versa. When the DP system is augmenting the mooring system, the DP system improves the damping of the moored ship in addition to increasing its holding capability, and minimizes the time required to deploy and adjust the anchor system by keeping station. For the worldwide operating offshore drilling or pipe laying rig, the combined DP and mooring systems offer unmatched flexibility and redundancy by extending the operating water depth of the rig yet providing low power requirements and operating costs in shallow water.


Considerable discussion has been given to both mooring and dynamic positioning (DP) systems for offshore floating vessels.l, 2,3,4 However, generally speaking, in each case the discussions were limited to one system or the other at a time. This paper considers the combination of the two systems on one vessel and the manner in which the DP system can assist the mooring system.

The paper begins with a brief review of the sizing and dynamic characteristics of a mooring system. This review establishes the range of mooring system parameters which must be accounted for in the design of the DP system for effective assistance to the mooring system. Then, a design process for the DP controller is given which allows the DP system to effectively augment the mooring system in a stable fashion in all operating regimes of the mooring system.

Throughout these discussions, actual data recorded on the drill ship SAIPEM Due is used to amplify points of interest and connect theoretical with actual results. The data was collected off the coast of Italy in February 1973 and in the North Sea in Norwegian waters in May 1973. A description of the SAIPEM Due and its dynamic positioning and mooring system is given in Table I.

Before reaching the final conclusions, the paper contains a section describing less obvious benefits in using the DP system with a mooring system.

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