The need for effective port planning
Bechtel, the international engineering and construction specialist, has unveiled ground-breaking port research to help improve the safety of shipping ports when it comes to wash.
The Research on the Passing Effects on Ships (ROPES) project, unveiled at the PIANC World Congress in San Francisco this week, aims to raise awareness of the fact that passing ships can exert dangerously large forces impacting on moored ships, mooring lines and fender loads in restricted waters.
“Ports are already aware of this problem, but it is becoming a much more serious issue because ships are getting larger and engines more powerful. So poorly planned terminals or badly handled management of passing ships can have dire consequences on safety and the environment and result in financial loss,” Marco Plujim, port sector manager and chair of ROPES, told Port Strategy.
He told PS: “Some of the big European ports have experienced problems with wash which is where the idea for ROPES came from. Rotterdam had a situation where an embankment had to be moved 50m in order to create more space and reduce wash.”
The ROPES research project was carried out over three years and involved extensive computer simulation and scale model simulation at the Port of Rotterdam to help determine the effects of wash. Different variables were examined during the project including passing velocity, water depth in relation to ship draft and drift angles.
Based on the findings from the project, researchers at Delft University in the Netherlands have developed new software and recommendations for use in the planning and design of new ports and terminals.
This software is an add-on to traditional static mooring analysis – it uses a flow model to determine certain wash scenarios. It can be used to tackle the problem of wash and help a terminal put in place stricter passing procedures, trouble shoot wash with boulders along quays, or even re-locate existing embankments.
The 25 participants in the ROPES project included port authorities, pilots, linesmen and hardware suppliers. Participants will now start using the software to mitigate wash at existing ports and terminals.
Bechtel has overseen more than 80 port and harbour projects globally including Khalifa Port in the UAE and the Port of Los Angeles Container Terminal.
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