Fatigue design standards for offshore structures became needed with development of offshore structures in harsh environments like the North Sea during the 1970s. The Ultimate Limit State had earlier been the most significant design requirement for similar platforms in the Mexican Gulf being less utilized with respect fatigue.

The need for fatigue design of ship structures became increased as more high strength steel was being used in these structures during the 1970s. The analysis method for long term loading and assessment of fatigue capacity has been improved over the years and this has also resulted in need for new and revised design standards.

New types of structures and structural components have been developed like tension leg platforms and support structures for wind turbines. These structures are subjected to significant dynamic loading such that fatigue design becomes the main issue and relevant fatigue design standards are needed.

Fatigue assessment of fixed offshore structures in the North Sea has been standard practice since the 1970s. Fatigue of floating platforms became a requirement after the accident with the Alexander Kielland platform in 1980. Later new types of structures have been installed in the North Sea such as tension leg platforms and floating production ships where fatigue has been an important part of the design. A further challenge with respect to fatigue came with the development of support structures for wind turbines to be installed in the sea.

This paper gives an overview of the development of fatigue design standards for marine structures over the last 40 years. This includes the significance of refined calculation of long term stress range distribution, calculation of hot spot stress, size effect and effect of mean stress effect on fatigue design of ship structures.

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