The floating storage unit Navion Saga at the Volve field in the North Sea suffered from two mooring line breaks in steel wire ropes in 2011. Investigations of the broken ropes indicated that a possible failure mechanism could be high stresses near the wire socket induced by large bending moments in leeward mooring lines. The scope of the current study has been to make a numerical model capable of capturing such behaviour of the steel wire rope and to check if the minimum bending radius could be as low as the rope’s specified minimum bending radius.
The numerical model has revealed a possible failure mechanism. The connecting link plate between the upper chain segment and the upper wire segment lies initially on the seabed. When lifted off the seabed, the link plate and the wire socket will fall to the seabed at a higher speed than the upper wire segment. A transverse wave in mooring line plane propagating towards fair-lead is generated when the wire socket hits the seabed. The wave leads to large curvature in the wire near the socket. Sensitivity studies of the governing parameters have been performed to assess the uncertainties of the numerical model. A modified system is presented and it is shown that the phenomenon which is likely to have caused failure in the original system will not occur for the modified one.