How ships load and unload safely in wind and ship passages?

(14-06-2022) In his PhD, Thibaut Van Zwijnsvoorde investigated how ships can safely load and unload in wind and ship passages.

A ship needs to be safely moored in order to be able to transfer cargo to the terminal. A mooring analysis concerns the study of the safety of the moored ship, during her stay at the quay, under external disturbances. Examples of such disturbances are the effect of wind, waves and passing ships.

In most cases a mathematical model is used to calculate the response of the moored ship. In doing so, one must have an accurate model. However, generating inputs (external forces, mooring configuration), as well as analyzing the outputs (mooring line forces, ship movements, etc.), are additional crucial steps when performing a mooring analysis.

Ships travel between berths in different ports around the world. In doing so, each terminal faces a specific set of external disturbances. This PhD thesis focuses on Sheltered (i.e. Shielded) terminals, where the effects of wind and passing ships are the most prominent external factors.

"Within my doctoral thesis, I discussed all components of mooring analysis for ships in such locations, analyzing some components in detail" explains Thibaut.

"The response of mooring lines to cyclic loading was investigated through tensile testing performed at Bexco"

"I also provide some pragmatic engineering tools to apply a first analysis on the moored ship before performing a dynamic mooring study," explains Thibaut.

"In addition to describing the mathematical model to perform this dynamic calculation, the effect of passing ships was also specifically investigated. Scale model tests, performed at Flanders Hydraulics Research, were used for this, in combination with numerical tools. The interaction in restricted waterways was especially investigated. These conditions are increasingly being found due to the increase in scale of maritime shipping," continues Thibaut.

"For inland navigation, this application becomes even more relevant, as the available waterway section is always limited, with terminals located along already limited waterways", concludes Thibaut.

Read a more detailed summary or the entire PhD


PhD Title: Modelling the Behaviour of a Moored Ship in Sheltered Waters


Contact: Thibaut Van Zwijnsvoorde, Evert Lataire, Marc Vantorre 

Thibaut Van Zwijnsvoorde

Thibaut Van Zwijnsvoorde was born in Knokke-Heist on the 10th of April 1991. He obtained a master's degree in Civil Engineering, major Offshore and Dredging, from Ghent University. He started working as a research associate at the Maritime Technology Division of Ghent University, a position he occupied for three years. Over the last four years, he worked as a doctoral researcher for the same research division, with as topic the assessment of the moored ship's response in a sheltered mooring location. He published 7 papers within the PhD topic, from which 1 A1, 2 A2 and 4 C1.


Editor: Jeroen Ongenae - Illustrator: Roger Van Hecke