Dynamic Positioning Systems


When any floating object like Ships and Offshore Drilling Rigs must operate in open seas without the ability to tie up or use an anchor, such as an offshore supply vessel tending a drill rig, a DP system becomes mandatory. Information from position and heading sensors are interfaced to a computer which is programmed with the vessels characteristics and commands are given to the vessels rudders, engines and thrusters, to develop the necessary forces to hold the vessel in position and on heading. 


Features and Benefits:


1. Reduced fuel consumption:  This reduces the operating cost of the equipment and can extend operating time on station.


2. Reduced machinery wear:  The reduction in fuel consumption has a direct relationship to machinery wear. For example, typical engine clutches on an OSV costs $60,000 US and can be worn out in a few years of DP operation. If we extend that to over 4 years, there is a significant maintenance cost saving for this machinery alone.


3. Safety: The simplified user interfaces and voice announcements means a shorter learning time for operators and less chance of a mistake, especially during emergency operations.


4. Accuracy: The improved positional accuracy of our DP (+- 0.15 M typical) means that operators will have more confidence in operating closer to obstructions and will be able to maintain safe operation in rougher sea conditions.



Dynamic Positioning as a vessel function is a technique that is maturing rapidly. The number of DP-capable vessels is increasing rapidly, as is the variety of vessel types and functions making use of DP capabilities. A number of vessel types are routinely fitted with DP at the Design and Build Stage, e.g. Platform Supply Vessels and Anchor-Handling Tugs. It is recognized that the DP capability of the vessel may increase the day-rate that she may earn due to the increased range of work that may be tendered for, or the increased reliability, due to the expanded environmental window in which work can progress. In vessels of this type a DP System can be incorporated very cheaply at the Design Stage, whilst adding it as a retrofit can be prohibitively expensive. DP is here to stay.