This paper considers mathematical models for model-based controller design in offshore pipelay operations. Three classes of models for control design are discussed, real-world models suitable for controller design verification, controller and observer models which are used on-line in the control system implementation. The control application place requirements on the model with respect to the computational time, dynamic behavior, stability and accuracy. Models such as the beam model, two catenary models, as well as general finite element (FE) models obtained from computer programs were not able to meet all of the requirements, and two recent dynamic models designed for control are presented, which bridge the gap between the simple analytical and more complex FE models. For completeness, modeling of the pipelay vessel, stinger and roller interaction, soil and seabed interaction and environmental loads are discussed.

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