A thruster-assisted position mooring (TAPM) system includes different control functions for stationkeeping and motion damping for a moored offshore vessel with assist from thrusters. It consists of a conventional mooring system and a dynamic positioning (DP) system. The thrusters are used to provide damping and some restoring to the vessel motion and compensate if line breakage occurs. The mooring system absorbs the main loads to keep the vessel in place. This paper presents a complete modeling, parameter identification, and control design for a 1:90 scaled TAPM model vessel. The numerical values for the different model parameters are identified from towing tests.
State-of-the-art TAPM control algorithms have been tested on the vessel in the Marine Control Laboratory (MC Lab), to see the behavior resulting from the different control algorithms. The presented experiments focus on the setpoint chasing algorithm, where the position setpoint slowly moves to the equilibrium position where the environmental loads are balanced by the mooring loads. This avoids conflicts between the mooring system and the control actions. If the environmental loads are too large so that the setpoint exceeds a user-defined safety radius, the setpoint is set to this radius and thruster forces grow to support the mooring system in counteracting the environmental loads to avoid line breakage. The experiments show that the vessel and setpoint chasing control algorithm behaves as expected, minimizing thruster usage and maximizing utilization of mooring system.