When construction and maintenance crews head out to sea to work on offshore oil drilling rigs, their living quarters have to float in sometimes choppy waters. Designers and researchers at Marintek (a division of SINTEF) are testing a ship technology that can generate waves inside its own hull in order to stabilize the vessel while docked next to a rig, providing a mobile and more stable living quarters for crews.
The boat uses a concept commonly deployed on the more traditional floating platforms where offshore oil workers reside during construction of a drilling rig. In most cases, the hulls are partly filled with water to provide some stability while at sea.
The Offshore Accommodation Vessel also has water tanks in its hull formed into the shape of a U, but will provide a much more mobile version of standard floating platforms (which have to be towed into place). Air valves control the direction of the water as it moves in the tanks. By counteracting the motion of the external waves with artificially generated internal waves, the designers believe they can reduce the motion of the ship.
The ship will also have azimuth thrusters that will be used to hold the ship’s position next to the rig. Crew will be able to move from the vessel to the drilling rig via a telescoping 55.5 meter gangway. The vessel can accommodate 800 residents. Ship owner Østensjø contracted design company SALT to develop the ship. Hoppe Marine came up with the internal wave system, which has been modeled and tested by Marintek.
You can read more about the U-Tank system here, and see a demonstration using a scale model of the ship in the video below.