The Dynamic Positioning (DP) System of a vessel involves complex interactions between a large number of sub-systems. Each sub-system plays a unique role in the continuous overall DP function for safe and reliable operation of the vessel. Rating the significance or assigning weightings to the DP sub-systems in different operating conditions is a complex task that requires input from many stakeholders. The weighting assignment is a critical step in determining the reliability of the DP system during complex marine and offshore operations. Thus, an accurate weighting assignment is crucial as it, in turn, influences the decision-making of the operator concerning the DP system functionality execution. Often DP operators prefer to rely on intuition in assigning the weightings. However, it introduces an inherent uncertainty and level of inconsistency in the decision making. The systematic assignment of weightings requires a clear definition of criteria and objectives and data collection with the DP system operating continuously in different environmental conditions. The sub-systems of the overall DP system are characterized by multi-attributes resulting in a high number of comparisons thereby making weighting distribution complicated. If the weighting distribution was performed by simplifying the attributes, making the decision by excluding part of them or compromising the cognitive efforts, then this could lead to inaccurate decision making.
Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) methods have evolved over several decades and have been used in various applications within the Maritime and Oil and Gas industries. DP, being a complex system, naturally lends itself to the implementation of MCDM techniques to assign weight distribution among its sub-systems. In this paper, the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) methodology is used for weight assignment among the DP sub-systems. An AHP model is effective in obtaining the domain knowledge from numerous experts and representing knowledge-guided indexing. The approach involved examination of several criteria in terms of both quantitative and qualitative variables. A state-of-the-art advisory decision-making tool, Dynamic Positioning Reliability Index (DP-RI), is used to validate the results from AHP. The weighting assignments from AHP are close to the reality and verified using the tool through real-life scenarios.