The Dynamic Positioning (DP) System is a complex system with significant levels of integration between many sub-systems to perform diverse control functions. The extent of information managed by each sub-system is enormous. The complex level of integration between sub-systems creates more possible failure scenarios. A systematic analysis of all failure scenarios is tedious and for an operator to handle any such catastrophic situation is breath taking. There are many accidents where a failure in a DP system has resulted in fatalities and environmental pollution. Therefore, reliability assessment of a DP system is critical for safe and efficient operation of marine and offshore vessels.

Traditionally, the reliability of a DP system is assessed during the design stage by methodologies such as Failure Mode Effects and Analysis (FMEA), Proving Trials, Hardware In-the Loop (HIL) testing, Site-Specific Risk Analysis, DP capability Analysis and during operation by annual trials to verify functionality. All these methods are time consuming, involving a lot of human effort and notably no analysis of previous accidents are indicated in the reliability assessment. This imposes in-built uncertainty and risk in DP system during operation.

In this paper, a new concept of Dynamic Positioning Reliability Index (DP-RI) is introduced and a state-of-the-art advisory decision making tool is proposed. This tool is developed based on information from various sources including Offshore Reliability Data (OREDA), International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) Accident database, DP vendor equipment failure databases, DP System supplier’s manuals, previous system level FMEA and HIL testing results, Site specific risk analysis documents, Project design specification and Operator’s operational experiences. Thus, DP-RI addresses the pitfalls of existing reliability assessment methods and will be an efficient tool in reducing the number of DP-related accidents.

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