The influence of waves on ship behaviour can lead to hazardous scenarios which put at risk the ship, the crew and the surroundings. For this reason, investigating the effect of waves on manoeuvring is of relevant interest. Waves may impair the overall manoeuvring performance of ships hence increasing risks such as collisions, which are of critical importance when considering dense traffic around harbour entrances and in unsheltered access channels. These are conditions met by Ultra Large Container Ships (ULCS) when approaching a port, e.g. in the North Sea access channels to the main sea ports of Belgium. Note that due to the large draft of ULCS and the limited water depth, shallow water effects will also influenced the ship. Thus, in such scenarios the combined effects of shallow water and waves on the ship’s manoeuvring need to be studied.
The present work investigates the effect of waves on the turning ability of an ULCS in shallow water. Simulations are carried out using the two time scale approach. The restricted water depth corresponds to 50% Under Keel Clearance (UKC). To gain a better insight on the forces acting on the ship, the propulsion, and the rudder behaviour in waves experimental studies were conducted. These tests were carried out in the Towing Tank for Manoeuvres in Confined Water at Flanders Hydraulics Research (in co-operation with Ghent University) with a scale model of an ULCS. Different wave lengths, wave amplitudes, ships speeds, propeller rates, and rudder angles were tested. The turning ability characteristics obtained from simulations in waves and calm water are presented, and discussed.