Moored offshore floating units may operate in regions where the bathymetry changes significantly over the mooring spread. Traditional mooring analysis methods make the assumption that the seabed slope is constant along the azimuth direction of each mooring line. This assumption, while reasonable for a seabed with nearly constant slope, can lead to significant errors with respect to the line tensions and vessel offsets in the mooring design assessment when the seabed slope is variable.

This paper demonstrates the impact of bathymetry changes on the mooring design with the help of numerical analysis examples. The floating vessel considered is a semi-submersible moored by an eight point all chain catenary mooring system.

Two methods of analysis are compared. In the first method, a true representation of the seabed surface that accounts for all variations in the bathymetry is used. In the second method, the anchor depths and the seabed slopes at the anchor locations estimated in the previous method are used, however, with the assumption of constant seabed slopes along the line azimuth directions. The dynamic analysis program Orcaflex is used for performing the numerical analyses in the time domain for both the methods. Differences in the performance of the mooring system are demonstrated by comparing the static and the dynamic line tensions as well as the vessel offsets in different environmental conditions. The paper also discusses how maximum offsets and line tensions are estimated.

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