For future offshore LNG terminals tugs are planned to assist LNG carriers during berthing and offloading operations. A model test study was carried out to better understand the tug behaviour in waves and to make a first step in the quantification of the related weather limits. Scale 1:35 model tests were performed in the two important ‘modes’ of a tug during this type of operation: the ‘push’ mode and the ‘pull’ mode. Realistic weather conditions were used and the tugs were working at the unshielded and shielded sides of the LNG carrier. Based on the results presented in this paper, it can be concluded that the motions of tugs in waves are significant, even in wave conditions that are considered to be mild for the berthing and offloading LNG carriers. The resulting push or pull loads may hamper these tug operations significantly. Special measures are necessary to take this behaviour into account in tug design, LNG carrier design and development of operational procedures and equipment. The paper gives insight in the typical tug behaviour in different weather conditions. One should be careful, however, to generalize the present results: with an optimised tug design and operation the tugs can be used in more severe conditions.

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