Challenges

To design vessels, equipment and logistics systems that enable safe and efficient operations in remote and exposed sea areas.

Research tasks

Seaworthiness properties: Vessels are critical components in almost all modern aquaculture operations. They are usually subdivided into three groups; service vessels, fish carriers and feed barges. All such vessels will be subjected to different functional and operational requirements when the industry starts to operate in areas exposed to harsher environmental conditions. Vessel operation in exposed areas assumes designs with more stringent seaworthiness properties than are stipulated today to ensure that operations are carried out safely and efficiently.

Vessel-installation interaction: As vessels become larger, and wave, current and wind conditions harsher in exposed locations, it will become important to analyse the forces that interact between vessels and aquaculture structures. An additional research activity will be to develop contact-free operations requiring DP (dynamic positioning) that ensure that propeller jets do not interfere with fish farm installations. It may be possible to address this in combination with innovative mooring systems. Larger vessels are equipped with bigger propulsion units with more powerful propeller jets that may have a negative impact on fish.

Optimising logistics: Logistics optimisation and feasibility studies are important as a basis for the development of new and well-functioning vessel designs and logistics systems. This also applies in exposed and remote areas. Key performance parameters in the fields of economics, the environment, HSE, and logistics can be applied in assessments and comparisons focusing on robust and cost-effective logistics systems and fish welfare.

Operational limits: A knowledge of operational limits is a prerequisite for the prevention of injuries to personnel, achieving safe operations, and the comparison of various vessel types and items of equipment. Operational limits can contribute towards ensuring that objective criteria are used to make sure that operations are suspended in good time. By identifying operational limits, it is also possible to compare different vessel designs and assess their respective levels of operability. Currently, operational limits are not clearly defined within the aquaculture sector, and should thus be the target of further research work.

Industrial relevance

Robust vessel design adapted to conditions in exposed areas will boost the operability and production performance of aquaculture facilities in such areas without sacrificing safety considerations. Optimised logistics systems are essential for minimising the costs involved in moving aquaculture operations further offshore.

Research Manager: Ørjan Selvik (SINTEF Ocean)