Towing stability
© Laurent Zylberman /
General information
When towing disabled or non-propelled ships, instabilities in the form of oscillatory yaw motions can occur. The amount of instability is governed by the length of the tow rope, the position of the attachment point, the tow speed and the loading condition of the towed ship.
The tow instabilities can lead to excessive tow line forces, unacceptable deviations from the desired track, danger to other vessels or undesired added resistance of the tow system.

Services & Activities
MARIN has ample experience with assessing the tow stability of systems such as semi-submersibles, FPSOs and tankers. The Offshore and Manoeuvring Departments assist in conducting model tests in which the motions of the towed vessel and the tow line loads are measured. Similar measurements on full scale are conducted by our Trials and Monitoring department. If needed, advice is given regarding possible improvements in the design or loading condition and if desired, the impact of these changes on the tow stability is demonstrated.

Facilities & Tools
Towing stability studies are carried out in the following MARIN facilities:

The following tools are used to study towing stability issues:

Software Sales
Some software tools are available for commercial use outside MARIN. A complete overview of these software tools for sale can be found under Software Sales.

The list below gives a review of towing stability projects carried out at MARIN:

  • Giant barge (SMIT), 2012
  • Agbami FPSO (SBM IMODCO), 2005
  • Greater Plutonio FPSO (Hyundai), 2004
  • Corocoro FSO (Samsung), 2003
  • EHRA FPSO towing tests (Bouyges), 2002
  • Bonga FPSO (Shell), 2000-2001
  • Laminaria FPSO (Woodside), 1998
Most recent towing stability papers presented by MARIN
(complete overview of papers can be found under Publications)

Optimisation of Resistance and Towed Stability of an Offshore Going Barge With CFD
Toxopeus, S.L., Stroo, K. and Muller, B., OMAE ASME 32nd International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering, Nantes, France, 2013

Recent Developments in the Towing of Very Long Pipeline Bundles Using the CDTM Method
Albertus Dercksen (MARIN) and Taco Taconis (Rockwater), Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), Houston, 1993

Most recent towing stability articles written for MARIN Report
(complete overview of articles can be found under Publications)

For more information on how MARIN can help your organisation with towing stability, please contact the Offshore or Manoeuvring Departments.
For full-scale measurements, please contact the Trials & Monitoring Department.

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