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Validation of a new method for determining the operational limits of freefall lifeboats

In collaboration with Statoil and TNO - Netherlands, SINTEF has developed and validated a novel methodology for determining the operational limits of free-fall lifeboats.

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The method combines the use of SINTEF software SIMO, the lifeboat launch simulator VARUNA, and MARINTEK's Computational Fluid Dynamics competence.

The originality of this approach lies in the fact that it takes into account the most important physical effects that influence the launch of a free-fall lifeboat. These include the motions of the host installation, the wind-induced loads on the lifeboat, and the wave field diffracted by the host. The method also enables reliable and host-specific estimates to be obtained of the probability of injury to the occupants, due to excessive acceleration loads during water entry.

The methodology has been successfully applied to lifeboats installed on a turret-moored FPSO in the Norwegian Sea. Taking the specific physics of this FPSO into account, the parameters driving the operational limits were identified, and motivated decisions were made for safer operation of the lifeboats, and increased operational limits.

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