A decline in oil-related revenues challenges Norway to focus on new types of offshore installations. Often, ship-mounted crane systems transfer cargo or crew onto offshore installations such as floating windmills. This project analyzes the motion of a ship induced by an onboard crane in operation using a new theoretical approach to dynamics: the moving frame method (MFM). The MFM draws upon Lie group theory and Cartan's moving frames. This, together with a compact notation from geometrical physics, makes it possible to extract the equations of motion, expeditiously. While others have applied aspects of these mathematical tools, the notation presented here brings these methods together; it is accessible, programmable, and simple. In the MFM, the notation for multibody dynamics and single body dynamics is the same; for two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D), the same. Most importantly, this paper presents a restricted variation of the angular velocity to use in Hamilton's principle. This work accounts for the masses and geometry of all components, interactive motor couples and prepares for buoyancy forces and added mass. This research solves the equations numerically using a relatively simple numerical integration scheme. Then, the Cayley–Hamilton theorem and Rodriguez's formula reconstruct the rotation matrix for the ship. Furthermore, this work displays the rotating ship in 3D, viewable on mobile devices. This paper presents the results qualitatively as a 3D simulation. This research demonstrates that the MFM is suitable for the analysis of “smart ships,” as the next step in this work.

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