“Open Water design” for reliable bulk material handling Maximising process throughput and equipment



Mario Terenzio, Executive Director, Logmarin Advisors srl, Genoa, Italy



While a specific class of guidelines and recommendations for the off-shore oil and gas industry (OCIMF) were introduced years ago, there is still a ‘home-made approach’ in regards to open water dry bulk trans-shipment operations with room and scope for improvement.

This article discusses an overview of the Open Water design, developed for the new series of floating terminals to improve work efficiency, reliability and availability.

Present challenges

With today’s financial markets in turmoil, a shipping market and steel industry facing economic challenges along with the recession, buyers and sellers are focusing on seeking logistical improvements as the only area where efficiency developments and sustainable cost reductions can produce long lasting and significant improvements.

The development of green field ports and/or the upgrading of existing shore terminals are hampered these days by a myriad of problems, beginning with the difficulty of getting a suitable financing structure, land acquisition and, last but not least, the environmental impact issue. These major obstacles heavily affect a project’s  environmental approval, capital cost and implementation timing.

Therefore, floating terminals are now being taken seriously as viable high value – faster realisation – low profile – lower investment/financial risk alternatives to shore based infrastructure. The operating conditions of such floating facilities are more demanding, through exposure to high winds and waves in open water conditions etc., therefore the relative cargo handling facilities are more vulnerable, and thus require higher safety standards, since they are subjected to higher acceleration forces, as compared to cranes operating on shore or in sheltered water conditions.

The buoyant body of the floating facility is free to move on its axis. The movements which affect floating cranes and their equipment and appliances the most are rolling, pitching and yawing. This brings about a fundamental difference in the designing and selection of cargo handling facilities, which have to be designed specifically for heavy-duty operation in open seas.

Consequently, Vast and long lasting mar ine background experience is a vital designing milestone for reliable and smooth operation.

Comprehensive study

Until now there haven’t been any appropriate Classification requirements, official guidelines or recommendations for this type of operation. To fill in the gap, RINA, the Italian Classification Society (IACS member), and Logmarin are currently developing a comprehensive study aimed at setting up new guidelines to be sponsored and recognised internationally for the new generation of ‘open water’ dry bulk terminals to be built.

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