Experience shows that for complex operations at sea the human factor can be a very important contribution to the success of an installation of a topside. On the one hand, the success of offshore heavy lifting and float over installation concepts depends on technical aspects of the ballasting systems, cranes, heave compensation systems, etc which are all subject to the risk of failure. On the other hand, all these systems are operated by offshore personnel, who play an important role in controlling the dynamics of the operation.
Manual operation of the cranes and tugger wire winches in combination with the ballast sequences have an effect on the dynamics of the load during the installation. The interaction with a Dynamic Positioning (DP) system may play a role as well. For critical operations failure modes of the equipment should be indentified and mitigation procedures should be developed and trained for by the operators.
Many of these operations will be carried out only once and the consequences of failure can be substantial. Therefore the JIP partners support the need for a virtual reality training environment that allows practicing different scenarios of the same installation project.
The main objective of the OBELICS JIP is to develop and validate a framework for ballast and lift operations of extreme loads, incorporating all the relevant dynamics of this offshore operation. This methodology is integrated and visualized in a real time environment to verify and/or practice these type of offshore operations.
This real time simulator may mainly be used for training purposes of (special) operations, although it is likely that it will also be applied as an engineering tool for the preparation (design) of these operations in the engineering phase of a contractors project.
The main challenge to achieve this goal is that the (hydro mechanical) physics of the motions of the crane vessel are modelled correctly and that the operating crew can interactively control what happens in the simulation, preferably in a realistic setting. This approach closes the gap between running fast time numerical simulations to investigate the downtime and the actual operation where on-site decisions by the crew can determine the success of an operation.