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Chapter 6: Effect of the Current Ch6. Effect of the current A current (mass of water) is several hundred times denser than air / generates forces of great magnitude In open sea a ship is handled in the same way with or without current

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ch6 effect of the current
Ch6. Effect of the current
  • A current (mass of water) is several hundred times denser than air / generates forces of great magnitude
  • In open sea a ship is handled in the same way with or without current
  • The ship in a current is being carried away relative to fixed objects (buoys, anchored vessels, obstructions…)
  • Prior to start any manœuvre: assess tidal strenght and direction in order to ascertain sufficient space
ch6 effect of the current position of pivot point
Ch6. Effect of the current / Position of Pivot Point
  • Current acts on underwater portion of ship
  • When sailing with current:

ground speed = speed in water + speed of current

  • When sailing against current:

ground speed = speed in water – speed of current

ch6 effect of the current position of pivot point4
Ch6. Effect of the current / Position of Pivot Point

Steering in the current:

  • Moving in the current:
    • Faster: pivot point near bow, good steering
    • Slower: same as backing , pivot point near stern , unstable ship
  • Moving against the current:
    • Pivot point in bow quarters, good steering, stable ship
ch6 effect of transverse current
Ch6. Effect of transverse current

In beam current: ship must compensate the effect of

the current

ch6 effect of transverse current6
Ch6. Effect of transverse current

Ship dead in the water:

  • Force exerted by the current is very large
  • Proportional to exposed underwater surface of ship (LxT) and to squared velocity of current V²
  • Force F = C x L x T x V²
  • Example: tanker of 260m Lenght
ch6 effect of the current working in a tide
Ch6. Effect of the current / Working in a tide

When tide flows across a berth , it can be used to:

    • Improve slow speed control
    • Create lateral motion
  • Always better to stem the tide
ch6 effect of the current tide from ahead
Ch6. Effect of the current / Tide from ahead
  • Short kicks ahead to maintain headway through the water and keep pivot point forward with little speed over ground
  • Good steering lever
  • Good control over the ship
  • - This is know as « stemming the thide »: ship’s speed bigger than current speed.
ch6 effect of the current tide from astern
Ch6. Effect of the current / Tide from astern
  • Most unsatisfactory situation
  • Extremely difficult to keep positive control of the ship
  • To keep pivot point ahead, ship must be running at a speed over ground much higher than speed of the tide: far too fast
  • To reduce speed: engine astern / pivot point moves after + transverse thrust
ch6 effect of the current working across a tide
Ch6. Effect of the current / Working across a tide
  • Balance ship’s speed through
  • the water and tidal stream
  • 2. Create sideway (lateral motion):
  • - use rudder angle alone or with kick ahead
  • - current comes onto opposite bow
  • - resultant of 2 vectors brings vessel towards the berth (crablike)
  • - to stop drift: bring ship’s head into the tide
ch6 effect of the current working across a tide11
Ch6. Effect of the current / Working across a tide
  • When working across a tide:
  • Be patient
  • Never rush the manoeuvre
  • Always put the tide fine on the
  • bow
  • Don’t put the tide too far around
  • on the bow:
  • - good lateral motion
  • - difficult to bring ship back into
  • the tide
ch6 effect of the current vectors
Ch6.Effect of the current / Vectors
  • Ship’s head into the tide
  • Ship’s speed through the water = speed of tide
  • No sideways drift :
  • α = 0 (angle between ship’s heading and current)
ch6 effect of the current vectors13
Ch6.Effect of the current / Vectors
  • α = 60° and V = S
  • V1 < S → ship is backing
  • V and S produce R (drift)
  • Conclusion:
    • - If V= S , the ship will berth astern of his
  • position
    • V has to be increased
    • in order to berth at the
    • good place (see next slide).
ch6 effect of the current vectors14
Ch6.Effect of the current / Vectors
  • To keep position: V must be
  • increased until V1 = S
  • Then will R coincide with V2
  • And vessel drifts perpendicular
  • towards the berth.
  • For α = 22°5:
  • S = 2’ → V = 2’3 / R = 0’8
  • S = 3’ → V = 3’3 / R = 1’2
  • For α =45°:
  • S = 2’ → V = 2’8 / R = 2’
  • S = 3’ → V = 4’3 / R = 3’
ch6 effect of current on manoeuvrability
Ch6. Effect of current on manoeuvrability
  • Turning in the current
  • With the current, the ship makes a wide swing
  • Against the current it makes a tight swing
slide16

Ch6. Swinging on an anchor

A ship with a following tide

swing through 180° to stem the

tide prior to proceeding to its

berth.

In a narrow waterway the ship

Swings on an anchor, keeping

A tight control over the position.

This is only possible if the bottom

is clear of obstructions

ch6 effect of the current swinging on an anchor
Ch6. Effect of the current / Swinging on an anchor

This manoeuvredepends on experience and skill and:

  • Depth of water
  • UKC (Under Keel Clearance)
  • Strenght of the current
  • Type of bottom
  • Type of engine power available
  • Size of the ship
  • Amount of room available for turn
ch6 effect of the current bends in a tidal river
Ch6. Effect of the current / Bends in a tidal River

The tide may be of different strenghts : rapidly on the

outside but weaker on the inside of the bend

ch6 effect of the current following tide
Ch6. Effect of the current / Following tide

The strong tide is working on the stern with the pivot point

forward: good turning lever and strong turning force.

Anticipation + kick ahead and counter rudder

ch6 effect of the rudder following tide
Ch6. Effect of the rudder / Following Tide
  • A ship can react violently and rapidly to this force : never underestimate.
  • Better to keep more to the outside of the bend: the ship is always in the area of stronger following tide.
ch6 effect of the rudder tide from ahead
Ch6. Effect of the rudder / Tide from ahead

When a large ship negotiates a bend in a channel with current

from ahead:

Better to keep to the inside so that the bow does not enter the

area of stronger current during the turn.

This side is often the shallow side as well

ch6 effect of the rudder tide from ahead22
Ch6. Effect of the rudder / Tide from ahead

In this position, the ship’s bow is influenced by the strong

Tide : the turning moment opposes the intended turn.

Risk of grounding Anticipation with helm and power

ch6 effect of current rapid changes in tidal direction24
Ch6. Effect of current / Rapid changes in tidal direction

A ship can pass close to shallow areas or man made

structures where the tide changes rapidly in direction.

If the ship proceeds at slow speed this can have serious

Consequences for the handling.

ch6 effect of the current restricting the tidal flow
Ch6. Effect of the current / Restricting the tidal flow

Avoid acute angles with a jetty, even with weak tides

The tide is forced to flow faster between ship and berth:

a low pressure appears and the ship is sucked towards the

quay.

ch6 effect of the current tidal forces
Ch6. Effect of the current / Tidal forces

Force of the tide depends on:

  • Draft and depth of water
  • Ship’s bow configuration
  • Velocity of the tide
  • Under keel clearance

Force of tide can vary with the depth: a tidal difference

Of up to 2.5knots over a depth of 5 meter is possible.

Published « Tidal Stream » is sometimes inaccurate.

ch6 effect of the current tidal forces28
Ch6. Effect of the current / Tidal forces
  • Force of the tide: directly proportional to the square of the velocity
  • A small increase in speed means an enormous increase in force exerted upon a ship
ch6 effect of the current tidal forces29
Ch6. Effect of the current / Tidal forces

UKC: blocking effect of a vessel when the UKC is reduced /

the tide cannot flow under and is forced to flow around

ch6 effect of the current tidal force at anchor
Ch6. Effect of the current / Tidal force at anchor

50.000DWT tanker at anchor / 5 knots tide / depth/draft ratio: 3.0:

The tidal force = 19 tonnes (exerted on the windlass)

ch6 effect of the current tidal force at anchor31
Ch6. Effect of the current / Tidal force at anchor

50.000DWT tanker at anchor / 5 knots tide / depth/draft ratio:1.1

due to falling tide:

Tidal force increases three times to 64 tonnes and can exceed the

Holding power of the anchor → ship will drag.

ch6 effect of the current lateral tidal forces
Ch6. Effect of the current / Lateral tidal forces

When ship moored or held with the tide on the beam

with a small UKC: lateral force created can be enormous

ch6 effect of the current lateral tidal forces34
Ch6. Effect of the current / Lateral tidal forces

Example 1:

Ship of 280.000 dwt / draft 22m

Current: 1knot on the beam

Depth-draft ratio: 1.05

Total lateral force = 328 tonnes

Example 2:

Same ship

Current: 1,5 knots on the beam

Total lateral force = 700 tonnes