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The Goal of the Research

During the last decades a continuous increase of the main dimensions of certain ship types can be observed, especially for container carriers, RoRo-vessels and LNG carriers. On the other hand, the dimensions of access channels, rivers, canals and ports called by these vessels often do not increase at the same rate. As a result, the behaviour of ships arriving at or departing from harbours will increasingly be influenced by waterways restrictions.

The asymmetric flow around a ship induced by the vicinity of banks causes pressure differences between port and starboard sides. As a result, a lateral force will act on the ship, mostly directed towards the closest bank, as well as a yawing moment pushing her bow towards the centre of the waterway. This phenomenon, known as bank effect, depends on many parameters, such as bank shape, water depth, ship-bank distance, ship properties, ship speed and propeller action. A reliable estimation of bank effects is important for determining the limiting conditions in which a ship can safely navigate a waterway.

Douro Queen

However, the knowledge of the bank effects induced by the typical bank geometries is very limited. The International Conference on Ship Manoeuvring in Shallow and Confined Water: Bank Effects offered researchers and pilots the possibility to discuss the latest developments in research and practice related to the ship behaviour in the vicinity of banks.

To increase the knowledge Flanders Hydraulics Research has commissioned the Maritime Division of Ghent University to execute a research program involving bank effects. Both institutions are involved in research of ship manoeuvring in shallow and restricted waters, squat, ship-ship interaction, bank effects, etc.

The Flemish Pilots train on the ship manoeuvring simulator of Flanders Hydraulics Research. For training purposes it is very important to model all significant forces. Due to the lack of knowledge on bank effects induced by sloped and semi-submerged banks an extensive research program was initiated.

The main properties of this comprehensive program are shown on this website. Please, do not hesitate to contact us if you are interested in this topic.

Ghent, January 2010


Marc VANTORRE, Prof. dr. MSc.