Thor K. Skoland and Victor Prushan

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: Total automatic position control of vessels was born in the deep sea research drilling programs of the nineteen-sixties. Vessels were equipped with side thrusters and controllable speed/thrust propellers which were controlled by a computer system. The computer gathered information on vessel position, heading and attitude and converted these into commands to the thrusters. The major task was to keep the vessel located precisely and automatically over a given point on the seabed for an extended period of time. This led to the natural applica- tion for advanced acoustic and mechanical measurement systems giving vessel position relative to a point on the ocean bottom. The systems were complex, very expensive and prone to frequent breakdown. Operation required experts in computers, control systems and acoustics. Considerable patience on the part of the vessel captain was also helpful. Dynamic positioning technology and usage have since evolved rapidly. Figure 1 shows the growth in numbers of dynamic positioning-equipped ships worldwide divided into categories of: (l) Dynamically positioned drillships (2) Dynamically positioned diving support vessels (3) Other DP equipped vessels.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 28, Number 1
Pages: 34 - 39
Cite this article: Skoland, Thor K., Prushan, Victor, "NAVIGATION SYSTEMS FOR DYNAMIC POSITIONING VESSELS", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 28, No. 1, Spring 1981, pp. 34-39.
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