Floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facilities are a new type of offshore structure, which have been developed as a game changer in offshore hydrocarbon development for unlocking stranded gas reserves. One of the key challenges associated is offloading from FLNG facilities to LNG carriers. Offloading may proceed with vessels in a side-by-side configuration, which allows offtake by un-modified vessels and minimizes requirements for new hardware or procedures (e.g. compared to a tandem operation). Significant challenges remain, however, and reliable offloading is critical for successful FLNG implementation. In this scenario, the two vessels are separated by a narrow 4 m wide gap. The resonant response of the sea surface in the gap has been predicted by numerical simulations [1] to be a few times that of the incident waves at particular frequencies. As a consequence, the gap resonant response may play a role in determining the operational window for side-by-side offloading operations, and thus has attracted a lot of attention recently. There have been studies on this topic both numerically and experimentally. However, many of these studies are in 2 dimensions (2D), for relatively large gaps and relatively shallow water depth, which may pose difficulties when extending the results to a real project. It is unclear what will happen for a gap resonance if the gap width gets narrower (say 4 m in full scale) and the water depth gets deeper (say 600 m in full scale). In this study, we conducted a series of model tests at a scale of 1:60 in a large wave basin, and focused on deep water and, crucially, narrow gaps, which are closer to a real project geometry. To facilitate future numerical simulations, we used two identical fixed bodies in the model tests and the vessels were simple barge-like shapes. Using white noise waves as the excitation, which covers a broad brand, the response of the fluid in the gap has been measured at several points. In these experiments, different modes of the gap resonance have been observed. Response amplitude operators (RAOs) of the gap resonance have been obtained through spectral analyses, which provide valuable information for the design of side-by-side operations and will benefit future numerical simulations. Test runs in white noise waves with different significant wave heights were also performed, to study the nonlinearities of the gap resonance phenomenon.

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