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Definition of DPS
 The prime function of DP system is to allow the vessel to
maintain position and lauding by automatic control of
surge, sway and yaw.
 Both of these are controlled about the desired ‘set-point’
values input by the operator. In each case, the variable
must be measured to obtain ‘feedback’ values.
 Dynamic Positioning can be described as an integration
of a number of shipboard systems to obtain the ability of
accurate maneuverability. DP can be defined as: A
system which automatically controls a vessel's position
and heading exclusively by means of active thrust. The
above definition includes remaining at a fixed location
(POSITION KEEPING), but also precision maneuvering,
tracking and other specialist positioning abilities.

1. Computer system;
2. Control console;
3. Sensor system;
4. Display system;
5. Associated Cabling and Cable
 Selectable Wind Feedforward
individually in surge, sway and
 • Selectable Low, Medium and
High gain in all operational
 • Selectable reference
velocities in tracking
 • Selection of arbitrarily
rotation point.
 • Automatic or manual sea
state selection for improved
performance in varying
environmental conditions.
 Kalman filter is a set of
mathematical equations that
provide an efficient computational
(recursive solutions) of the least
square method. The filter is very
powerful in several aspects: it
supports the estimations of past,
present and future states an it can
do so even when precise nature of
the modeled systems is known .
 The extended Kalman filter uses a
mathematical model of the vessel. The
mathematical model is never a 100%
representation of the real vessel. The
vessels heading and position is
calculated from the HRS and PRS and is
compared with the estimated and
calculated data from the mathematical
model. The differences are used to
update the mathematical model to the
actual situation. Hence, the controls
system ADAPTS to the surrounding
environments after the models have
been allowed sufficient (about 30 mins)
settling time.
 Optimum self adaptive noise filtering of
the heading and position measurements
• An inertial navigation system (INS)
is a navigation aid that uses a
computer, motion sensors (
accelerometers) and rotation sensors (
gyroscopes) to continuously calculate
via dead reckoning the position,
orientation, and velocity (direction and
speed of movement) of a moving
object without the need for external
references. It is used on vehicles such
as ships.
• This INS kernel generates the
estimated position, velocity and
acceleration for the extended Kalman
• This supplies the controller position
reference through the DR mode when
the PRS system has a problem and is
disabled or is being changed over to
more reliable unit during operation.
Position reference system
• Position Reference Systems are of two types
absolute and relative
• For equipments of DPS class 2 & 3, at least
three position reference systems should be
installed and simultaneously available to the DP
control system during the operations .
• When two or more position reference
system are required, they should not all be
of the same type, but based on different
principles and suitable for the operating
Absolute Position Reference Relative Position Reference
System System

• An absolute system • A relative system gives

gives vessels geographic vessel position with
position. Hence, the reference to a non-fixed
position fixes are reference. The
geodetically fixed reference can be
• DGNSS (DGPS and stationary or moving
GLONASS) with reference to the
• Acoustic (USBL, SBL, location.
LBL) • Atemis
• Taut Wire • Laser (Fanbeam, Cysan)
• Hydro acoustic position • Radar (Radius,
reference system.(HPR) Radascan)
Reliability of position reference
system and tests
• The accuracy of the position reference date should be
with a radius of 2% of water depth for bottom
based systems or within a radius of 3 m for surface
based systems.
• The DP control system carries out a series (5 in no.) of
tests carried out on each position – reference system to
check whether or not position measurement systems are
accurate :-
– Freeze test
– Prediction test
– Variance test
– Bias test
– Median test
– Standard deviation of position measurement
 (DGPS) Differential Global Positioning
 Hydroacoustic Position Reference (HPR)
 Taut Wire Position Reference
 Laser-based Systems (Fanbeam and
 Radar-based Systems (Artemis, Radius
and Radascan)
 Differential, Absolute and Relative
Positioning System (DARPS)
(DGPS) Differential Global Positioning
 The GPS position is improved by use of fixed ground based
reference stations (differential stations) that compares the GPS
position of the station to know position of the station.
 The correction is sent to the DGPS receiver by long wave radio
 The pseudo ranges derived from the receiver are compared with
those computed from the known locations of the satellite and
reference stations, and a Pseudo-Range correction (PRC)
derived from each satellite.
 These corrections are then included in a telemetry message and
sent to the ships receivers by a data link.
 The receiver then applies the PRCs to the observed Psuedo
Ranges to compute a differentially corrected position .
 Differential Quality Index (DQI) which is a figure of merit for the
Quality of Data provided to the DPO. This index provides a single
digit number indicating quality; the larger the number better the
quality of data, from (0) representing failed solution no Data, (1) is
raw GPS with no differential to 9 in increasing quality redundancy
and accuracy of differentially corrected solution
Network DGPS
 Generally, network DGPS
systems provide greater
stability and accuracy, and
remove more of ionosphere
error than obtainable from a
single reference station.
 Network systems are more
comprehensively monitored at
the Hub, or control station,
where user information or
warning data may be generated
and sent out.
 NDGPS services must accept
multiple differential inputs
obtained from an array of
reference stations widely
 The accuracy obtained from
DGPS systems is in the area of
1~3 m dependent on the
distance to the reference
stations, ionospheric conditions,
and the constellation of
satellites available
Hydro-acoustic Position Reference (HPR)
 This system consists of one or more transponders
placed on the seabed and transducer placed in the ship’s
hull. The transducer sends an acoustic signal by means
of piezoelectric elements to the transponder which is
triggered to reply. As the velocity of sound through water
is known, the distance can be found out by the time
required for signal to travel from transponder to
 Disadvantages are vulnerability to noise by thrusters or
other acoustic systems. Furthermore the use is limited
to shallow waters because of the ray bending that occurs
when the sound travels through water horizontally
Disadvantages are vulnerability to noise by thrusters or
other acoustic systems. Furthermore the use is limited
to shallow waters because of the ray bending that occurs
when the sound travels through water horizontally
 Ulra-super short
baseline, USBL or
 Long base line,
 Short base line,
Ultra-super short baseline, USBL or SSBL
 The direction of signal can be
determined from the multiple array of
elements on the transduction. Thus
the position of the ship relative to the
transponder can be calculated.
 An interrogating pulse is transmitted
from the transducer. This pulse is
received by the transponder on the
sea bed, which is triggered to reply.
The transmitted reply is received at
the transducers. The
transmit/receive time delay is
proportional to the slant and range.
So range and direction is determined.
The angles and the range define the
position of the ship relative to that of
the transponder.
 Acoustic systems used frequencies in
the 20~30 KHz band.
 The long base line system uses
an array of three or more
transponders laid on the
seabed in the vicinity of the
worksite. Typically the array
will form a pentagon (5
transponders) on the seabed,
with the drillship at the centre
 One transponder upon the
vessel interrogates the
transponder array, but instead
of measuring range and
angular information, ranges
only are measured, because
baseline distance have already
been calibrated.
 LBL systems are in use in
drilling operations in deep
water areas >1000 m
 This works with array of
transducers in the ships level.
 The short baseline system is like a
long base line system, except that
there is an array of transducers
(hydrophones), spread along the
underside of the DP vessel and
base line are the distances
between them.
 Thus the accuracy can be better
than the ultra or super short base
line system and work with one
transponder or beacon, but it still
relies on the vessel corrections
Taut Wire Position Reference
The system generally consists of a
crane assembly on deck, usually
mounted at the side of the vessel and
depressor weight on a wire lowered by
a constant tension winch.
At the end of the crane boom angle
sensors detect the angle of the wire.
The weight is lowered to the seabed
and winch is switched to constant
tension or ‘mooring mode’.
Gimbal head
By measuring the amount of wire paid
out and the angle of the wire by the .
The relative position can be calculated
once the vertical distance from the
sheave of the crane to seabed is
The angles at the gimbal head of the
taut wire is corrected by DP control
system for roll and pitch angles from
vessel inclinometer CLAMP WEIGHTHT
Laser-based Systems (Fanbeam and
• In a laser based system a laser
beam white light is projected
horizontally and spread out a
vertical “fan” of approximately
22º. This beam of light is pulse
at very high frequency. The
projector or scan unit is placed
in a suitable mast-heart location
with a good view of the horizon.
• a small prism needs to be
installed on a nearby structure
or ship.
• Both systems lock on to a single
target and/or number on
structure from which position
must be maintained .
• The azimuth of the reflector is
determined from the bearing of
the scan unit. This is a relative
measurement obtained from the
shaft encoder within the scan
Laser-based Systems (Fanbeam and
Cyscan) merits and demerits
Advantage : :
• (i)Limited
High reliability
range capability
• (ii)Line
of sight
and simple
to set up and operate
• (iii)
of data when lines & reflectors gets
• Confusion created by nearby reflective targets
Radar-based Systems (Artemis, Radius and Radascan)
 The Artemis system consists of two microwave
transceiver/antenna units; one located on the
fixed platform other located abroad the ship.
The antennae are double slotted wave guide
units physically resembling radar antennae.
 A continuous microwave FMCW (frequency
modulated continuous wave) link is
established between fixed and mobile units,
with the two antennae automatically tracking so
as to face each other.
 Range measurement is obtained by a signal
initiated at the Mobile unit received and
retransmitted by the fixed unit, the reply
received by Mobile unit. Bearing is measured
by fixed unit as a value determined by antennae
shaft encoder.
Radar-based Systems (Artemis, Radius and
Some of the of
Advantages draw
the backs
the Artemis
are:- systems are as listed :-
 Long range.
Set-up phaseThe
is 500m
~ 1000m. of the platform staff;
 Notcontrol
No dependent
fixed unit
line for
of sight
and less and
to obscured.
 The Artemis from
Interference position
radar issystem
(3 cm
and hasneeds
long range
 ability. For DP
Requirement to purposes, the range
maintain line is five kilometers, with accuracies of
of sight;
 0.5 to 1.0 m with
Interference from range.
radiated heat;
 Formation of DIP Zones
Differential, Absolute and Relative Positioning System (DARPS)
 This is also known as Relative GPS.
Some DP operations require positioning
of a vessel relative to a moving
structure, such as DP shuttle tanker
loading from FPSO.
 A DARPS transmitter on FPSO sends
and receives the GPS data to UHF
receiver on board for the shuttle tanker.
 A computer on board, the shuttle tanker
rim calculates the range and bearing of
the stern of FPSO, which is put into
DPS as a position reference.
 This DP system configured to load from
an FPSO facility will feature a “position
box”., which is an imaginary are located
at the stern of the FPSO. This box
should contain the bow of the tanker.
Only if the bow of the tanker breaks out
of this box is the DP triggered to adjust
the tanker’s position
Heading Reference Systems
 Normally all Gyro compasses will be enabled for use.
The system then receives and compares the signals from
all gyro compasses, but uses only one of them to
calculate the vessels headings.
 When three gyro compasses are enabled, the system will
normally use the preferred gyro compass : If the
difference the measurements from one of the gyro
compasses and the median value exceeds a predefined
limit, the measurements from this gyro compass is
rejected and an alarm will be given.
 Gyro compasses used are electromechanical devices,
but there are more advances designs such as – Ring
Laser Gyroscopes and Fibre Optic Gyroscopes. A
combination of GPS and internal Navigation used in
“Seapath” system.
Types of HRS
electromechanical optical
 Uses conservation of
interferometry as basic
angular momentum.
 Uses two rotating
 Uses two beam of light
gyroscopes which are
having the axes of
against each other in an
rotation perpendicular to
optical path.
each other.
 Uses fringing effect of
 The rotation is stabilized
beat frequency in the
by the hydraulic damping
RLG to determine any
fluid against natural
rotation in the plane of
the optical path.
 Inertial device less
 Optical device extremely
Environmental reference system
 Consists of wind sensors, motion sensors,
and various other sensors such as:-
– Rate of turn.
– Speed sensor
– Depth
– Draught.
 The wind sensor gives gusting correction
through wind feed forward
 The motion sensors are accelerometers
which measure the motion of the vessel in
the MRU/VRU and form a part of filtering
system for other sensors and INS.
System requirement of sensors
 These sensors should provide new data with a
refresh rate and accuracy as required by intended
DP operation.
 When more than one sensor for a specific
function is required, then each shall be in
dependent with respect to power, signal
transmission and interfaces.
 It shall be simple for the operator to ascertain the
operational status of all sensors at any time,
which systems is in operation with the data
accepted and discarded, shall be clearly
identified. Sensor data shall be available at the
operator’s request
System requirement of sensors
 When failure of a sensor is detected, an
alarm shall be initiated even if the sensor
is in standby or offline used at the time of
 In case of failure, environmental reference
unit should continue operating on signals
from the remaining sensors without
manual intervention.
 Suitable comparative and processing
techniques are to be provided to validate
the control system inputs from these
sensors, to ensure optimum performance
of the dynamic positioning system
Thruster allocation
 A DPs must have well positioned thrusters
to control position.
 The thruster configuration shall include
thrust units which together with produce, at
any time, transverse and longitudinal thrust,
and a yawing movement.
 The thruster should be located with
consideration of effects, which will reduce
their efficiency; for example thruster-hull,
thruster-thruster interaction and shallow-
immersion effects
Thruster allocation
 Thruster installations are to be
designed to minimize potential
interference with other thrusters,
sensors, hull or other surfaces which
could be encountered in the service
for which the ship is intended.
 Thruster intakes are to be located at
sufficient depth to reduce the
possibility of ingesting floating debris
and vortex formation.
Thruster allocation
 When a redundant thruster
configuration is required, there shall
be transverse and longitudinal thrust
and yawing moment after any single
 A single failure in thruster control shall
neither cause a significant increase in
thrust output nor make the thruster
Thruster types

 Main Propellers
and Rudders
 Azimuth Thrusters
 Azipoid thrusters
 Tunnel Thruster
Thruster control system
 Typically, there will
be three status
indicators for
thrusters within the
DP,’ “Running”,
“Ready” and
 “Thruster Bias”
Thruster allocation modes
 Fix 1
 Fix 2
 A DP failure may result in a simple positional
excursion (a “drift off”) or a powered drive
off. Second is regarded as catastrophic
 The consequence of such a catastrophic failure
can be categorized in three ways; risk of death
or injury to personnel, risk of damage to
property and risk of pollution.
 By the term “redundancy” we mean the ability
of the vessel to withstand the loss of any
component within the DP system without
loosing position and/or heading.

 Limits of Physical


deviation Red

illustrated. Yellow

 For more
Of Position
Critical Loss


critical limit

operation the
diameter of the Barriers loss
of position

circle keeps on Barrier recovery


getting smaller. Safe

termination of
 Redundancy arrangement within a system
assures that the system function remains
subsequent to the loss of any single element or
 The redundancy arrangements allow the
operation or task to be safely terminated or
suspended and the vessel safely exist the
worksite, still under the control of the DP
 IMO classified the DP systems as Class 1,2,3
as per the order of increasing redundancy.
 In safety critical operations, the task cannot be
suspended without continuing after the loss of
DP ability, and in many operations, the DP
ability is essential for the safe suspension of
the task and vessel worksite exit.
 Redundancy arrangements within the DP
system provide a time-frame in which
operation can be safely terminated and the
vessel to move to a position of safety after the
failure of critical component. (TTT).
DP Class 1
For equipment
class 1, loss of
position may
occur in the
event of a
single fault.
DP Class 2
For equipment class2, a loss of position is not to
occur in the event of single fault in any active
component or system. Normally, static
components will not be considered to fail where
adequate damage control ability is demonstrated,
and reliability is to the satisfaction of the
Administration. The single failure criteria
include :-
– Any active component or system (generators, thrusters,
switch board, remote controlled values etc.)
– Any normally static component (Cables, pipes, manual
values etc.)
DP Class 2
DP Class 3
For equipment of class 3, a single
failure includes :
– Items listed above for class 2, any
normally static component is assumed
to fail.
– All components in any one watertight
compartment, from fire or flooding.
– All components in any one fire sub-
division, from fire or flooding
DP Class 3
• Redundancy in Controllers
• Redundancy in Propulsion
• Redundancy in Position and Heading
• Power system redundancy
Redundancy in Controllers
• For class 2, two parallel identical computers are
installed. Each is running independently in
parallel, receiving the same feed back data and
performing the same computations. One is
“online” while the other is back up.
• Each continuously monitors or “watch dogs” the
other, such that, if the two units are not running
identically, then an “A-B difference” warning can
be initiated.
• If online fails and the back up takes over.
• More extensive installation may incorporate
Triple Modular Redundancy (TMR)
Redundancy in Propulsion
• For diesel – electric
vessel of class 2 or 3,
the worst case single
point failure, will be
loss of one complete
bus bar, one complete
section of the switch
• Even then sufficient
thrust capability should
remain to maneuver
the vessel.
Redundancy in Position and
Heading Reference
• For class 2 and 3, the equipment class
requirement is for three independent
position reference systems, and three
gyro compasses. This gives the voting
capability which allows automatic
identification and rejection of an errant
position reference or compass
• Identification of “common mode failure”
• In case ERS the wind sensors and MRUs
must also be duplicated.
Redundancy in Position and
Heading Reference
Power system redundancy
 The overall layout of the DP
vessel’s power plant will be
designed with redundancy in mind.
 For class 3 operations, the
machinery space and switchboard
rooms will be subdivided, such that
fire will not result in total incapacity.
 The configuration of switchboards,
bus-tie switches, thrusters and
generators will comply with the
equipment class requirements.
For compliance with class 3 the
bus-tie switches must be open,
such that each switchboard
section operates in isolation and
a fault cannot transfer across
the boards resulting in total
 The position excursion can be within certain limits to maintain safe working
condition other wise the operation may become extremely unsafe. The
failure in any components of the DP system may bring about a reduction in
the position keeping ability of the DP system.
 Again looking at the components of the DP system the heading reference
units, the vertical reference units (VRU) and the motion reference units
(MRU) form the inertial navigation system (INS) along with the mathematical
model and vessel computer. These calculate the expected position of the
vessel in the “dead-reckoning” mode when the position referencing system
fails due to common cause failure or freeze.
 The redundancy requirements are clearly spelt out by the IMO and class
societies and the system is classified into various classes namely DP
CLASS1,2 & 3. As per the requirements of the various DP classes the
sensors and the equipments are duplicated and triplicated. The triplication
of the sensors and systems allows voting systems and weighing to rule out
the faulty system.
 The thrusters operate in various modes such as the fixed angles, variable,
position/heading priority etc and have barred zones for operation to prevent
thruster-thruster and thruster-hull interaction effects. There are various
types of thrusters in use, such as the propeller-rudder combinations, azipoid
thrusters, azimuth thrusters and the tunnel thrusters; each having their own
advantages and disadvantages.