Dynamic Positioning (DP) systems are used on mobile installations, diving vessels, shuttle tankers and other vessels. Errors in DP systems can cause serious accidents and injuries. In spite of every effort made to reduce the occurrence of errors, such errors still have a relatively high frequency. On-line risk modeling can help reduce the risk of serious accidents, by providing operational personnel with vastly improved decision support, in connection with manual intervention, when the technical system fails or gives erroneous response to external influences.
Operational aspects are of vital importance for the risk control of marine systems, it is therefore essential that the research focuses on the interaction between the technical components (including reference systems), control systems and operators, also considering if the degree of automation can be modified to give operators better preconditions for safe operation (“human factors”).
At Dept of marine technology, NTNU, we have now a PhD project with 3 PhD students focusing on DP safety and on-line risk modelling, two engineers and one psychologist. We will start up this autumn with meetings with industry and suppliers, in order to learn about their needs and priorities.
Maybe a full on-line risk modelling is too ambitious in the short term, but we are certainly aiming to improve the decision-support given to DP operators.