ROPES: Joint industry project on effect of passing ships on moored vessels

01 April 2014


Ships have significantly increased in size and number over the last decades. Ports and waterways are accommodating these ships and at the same time new terminals are designed in the existing infrastructure. In restricted water moored vessels can be affected by hydrodynamic forces induced by passing ships. The ROPES project was initiated to investigate these effects, to develop a numerical model for predicting these loads and to validate this model. To this end systematic scale model tests as well as extensive full scale measurements have been conducted. The research was conducted as a joint industry project with the support of port authorities, terminal operators, vessel operators, engineering companies, suppliers of mooring equipment and research institutes.

Within the ROPES project systematic model tests with captive models have been conducted to determine the effect of basic parameters such as water depth, canal width, speed and passing distance for various ship types. Dedicated captive model tests were conducted to investigate the effect of complex harbour geometries, current and drift angle of the passing vessel. Finally tests were conducted taking into account the full dynamics of the moored vessel including lines and fenders. At the same time an extensive full scale monitoring campaign was conducted. On four selected locations in the Port of Rotterdam, the moored vessel motions and mooring line loads were measured in combination with the weather conditions while tracking the passing vessels. On several occasions in the monitoring campaign the effect of dynamic mooring systems was recorded and compared with conventional passive mooring. Within the project the ROPES software was developed to predict the loads excited by passing vessels on moored vessels for arbitrary port and waterway geometries. Special attention was paid to the practicalities and user friendliness of the software and the required computational time on a PC. The ROPES software was successfully correlated with both model tests and full scale results.
In this paper an overview of the ROPES project and its results are presented. More detailed information will be provided in separate papers in the same session. Finally some main conclusions are drawn.

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PIANC World Congress,
San Francisco, USA,


Henk van den Boom, MARIN, Trials and Monitoring, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Marco Pluijm, Bechtel Port and Marine Infrastructure, London, United Kingdom
Willemijn Pauw, MARIN, Trials and Monitoring, Wageningen, The Netherlands