Transhipment of bulk ore products using a floating harbour transhipper
MacFarlane, GJ and Matsubara, S and Clarke, LJ and Johnson, NTM and Ballantyne, RJ, Transhipment of bulk ore products using a floating harbour transhipper, Proceedings of the 2015 Coasts and Ports Conference, 15-18 September, Auckland, New Zealand, pp. 1-6. ISBN 9781922107794 (2015) [Refereed Conference Paper]
Transhipping bulk ore products such as iron ore and coal is often considered an attractive alternative to
direct shipping from large port facilities. This is particularly true when the latter involves considerable cost
due to major dredging operations, long jetties, large tracts of coastal land and large storage sheds.
Significant savings in capital investment can be achieved by using small feeder vessels to transport the
product from a smaller shore based facility to the export vessel moored in deep water. However,
transhipment faces other challenges with respect to limiting sea state and environmentally undesirable dust
spillage and materials transfer problems.
The floating harbour transhipper (FHT) is a new concept for bulk ore transhipment currently being developed
by the Australian company Sea Transport Corporation and the Australian Maritime College. The FHT is
essentially a large floating warehouse with an aft well dock to support material transfer operations from the
feeder vessel. The FHT's bulk cargo handling equipment transfers material from the feeder vessel into its
own stockpile or directly to an export vessel moored alongside, or from the stockpile to the export vessel.
One of the many major advantages that this concept offers the mining export industry are reduced
transhipment delays caused by inclement weather, which is a result of the significant reduction in relative
motions between the FHT and feeder vessel due to sheltering effects, compared to the more exposed
situation during traditional side-by-side mooring arrangements.
This paper presents an overview of the primary hydrodynamic issues currently being investigated: primarily
the interaction between multiple floating bodies in close proximity to each other while in a seaway. The
investigation is employing a combination of physical scale model experiments and numerical techniques to
investigate the behaviour of all three vessels. Various ship-to-ship interaction scenarios are investigated,
including (i) the feeder vessel docking, docked or undocking within the FHT well dock, and (ii) an ocean
going bulk carrier moored alongside the FHT. Selected outcomes from recent investigations are presented.