Internal waves near the ocean surface have been observed in many parts of the world including the Andaman Sea, Sulu Sea and South China Sea among others. The factors that cause and propagate these large amplitude waves include bathymetry, density stratification and ocean currents. Although their effects on floating drilling platforms and its riser systems have not been extensively studied, these waves have in the past seriously disrupted offshore exploration and drilling operations. In particular a drill pipe was ripped from the BOP and lost during drilling operations in the Andaman sea. Drilling riser damages were also reported from the south China Sea among other places. The purpose of this paper is to present a valid numerical model conforming to the physics of weakly nonlinear internal waves and to study the effects on offshore drilling semisubmersibles and riser systems. The pertinent differential equation that captures the physics is the Korteweg-de Vries (KdV) equation which has a general solution involving Jacobian elliptical functions. The solution of the Taylor Goldstein equation captures the effects of the pycnocline. Internal wave packets with decayed oscillations as observed from satellite pictures are specifically modeled. The nonlinear internal waves are characterized by wave amplitudes that can exceed 50 ms and the present of shearing currents near the layer of pycnocline. The offshore drilling system is exposed to these current shears and the associated movements of large volumes of water. The effect of internal waves on drilling systems is studied through nonlinear fully coupled time domain analysis. The numerical model is implemented in a coupled analysis program where the hull, moorings and riser are considered as an integrated system. The program is then utilized to study the effects of the internal wave on the platform global motions and drilling system integrity. The study could be useful for future guidance on offshore exploration and drilling operations in areas where the internal wave phenomenon is prominent.

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