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Proceedings of OMAE-FPSO 2004

OMAE Specialty Symposium on FPSO Integrity
Houston, USA 2004

OMAE-FPSO 2004 - 0093



Ernesto Valenzuela Jer-Fang Wu

American Bureau of Shipping American Bureau of Shipping
16855 Northchase Drive 16855 Northchase Drive
Houston, TX 77060, USA Houston, TX 77060, USA

Haihong Sun Tuanjie Liu

American Bureau of Shipping American Bureau of Shipping
16855 Northchase Drive 16855 Northchase Drive
Houston, TX 77060, USA Houston, TX 77060, USA

Presented at the FPSO Workshop, OMAE Specialty Symposium on FPSO Integrity (OMAE-FPSO 2004)
and published in the Proceedings of OMAE-FPSO 2004, Houston, Texas, August 30 - September 2, 2004
Reprinted with the kind permission of American Society of Mechanical Engineers, New York, NY

ABSTRACT therefore, this paper also discusses the application of the

ABS Guide for Buckling and Ultimate Strength
SafeHull (SH) is a system that comprises Rules and Assessment of Offshore Structures [4] applied to FPSOs
software programs, as depicted in Figure 1. The ABS and makes comparison with the ABS Rules for Building
Guide for Building and Classing Floating Production and Classing Steel Vessels [3], which uses the net scantling
Installations [2] (herein after called ABS FPI Guide) and concept to determine buckling of structural members.
the associated SH-FPSO software system have been in
use for over 3 years in the design classification of FPSO
new builds and conversion from existing tankers. This ABS introduced the SH criteria for new construction
paper provides information about the new FPI Rule tankers in 1993 and formalized into Rules in 1995. The
change (April 2004) regarding the classification process next step was to extend this technology to tanker
of FPSO conversions as an ongoing effort to address the conversions already in service. ABS uses the Site-
needs of clients. It highlights the impact of the changes Specific Environment Assessment System (SEAS), which
on the two typical conversion processes – the basic is based on the Environmental Severity Factors (ESFs)
Ordinary Conversion and the optional SH (CS) concept in 1997. The main function of SEAS is to assess
Conversion. The paper focuses on the new requirements the remaining fatigue life of the hull structures, taking
for fatigue assessment, i.e., the Environmental Severity into account the site-specific environment and the fatigue
Factors (ESF), and strength including loading cases that damage accumulated during the trading history. Based on
apply to SH phase A and B as a requirement for the experience gained from actual conversions and further
structural review process, which is carried out by the research, this ESFs approach was refined in 1999 and
classification society. Class requires not only the SEAS was made part of the SafeHull FPSO design
certification of the project but also future surveys of the criteria and analysis system, which was introduced to the
vessel. FPSOs are also considered offshore structures, industry in 2000. New design criteria introduced in 2004

ABS Floating Production Installations Guide Rule Change: FPSO Fatigue and Strength Assessment 81

have been published in the latest version of the ABS FPI panels and compares the results to the one obtained using
Guide. the ABS Rules for Building and Classing Steel Vessels.
The concept and details of ABS ESFs approach for
extending the SafeHull tanker design rules can be found PHASE A AND PHASE B REVIEW
in papers by Zhao et. al.[8,9] Basically, the ESFs are a The SafeHull Phase A criteria contains SafeHull
measure of severity of route-specific or site-specific wave loads, global and local scantling requirements. The
environment relative to the unrestricted service wave scantling review includes strength evaluation for site-
environment, which is the North Atlantic environment. specific environment and fatigue assessment taking into
Two sets of ESFs are derived for the FPSO fatigue and account previous trading history as a tanker. SH/FPSO
hull strength design. The α–factors are used to adjust Phase B is a verification of the initial scantlings through a
spectral fatigue strength performance between total strength finite element stress analysis for a set of
unrestricted ocean going tankers and the long-tern site standard load cases with defined SafeHull loads. This
environment. The β–factors are used primarily to adjust FEM strength analysis is only required for classification
the dynamic component of loads that are used to assess for FPSO seeking SH(CS) notation or new build. The
the hull strength and fatigue capacity of connection detailed Phase A and Phase B review procedures are
details. Therefore, the base for both factors is the described by Tam et. al.[6]
unrestricted service, which uses equal probability to
account for the heading effect. The new enhancements FATIGUE ASSESSMENT ENHANCEMENTS
introduced in the FPI Guide make now a distinction Fatigue is one of the important elements in the
between spread moored and turret moored FPSOs to classification of the FPSO hull structure, and it is even
better account now for the wave heading effects. more so for FPSO vessels converted from existing
tankers. For FPSO conversions, the estimated remaining
fatigue lives of welded joints and critical structural details
must be accurately assessed, especially for areas where
The SafeHull System
Consist of Rules & high strength steel is used. The minimum acceptable
Software Programs target life for converted FPSO is the greatest of the on-
site design life of the FPSO, the time to the next Special
Survey, or five years.
Tankers The Definition of Environmental Severity Factor
Rule for Building SafeHull Phase A
and Classing Steel
Bulk Carriers
Container Ships
SafeHull Phase B (ESF) α Factors in SEAS
Vessels - 2004
The first step in the SH/FPSO Phase A review is to
Floating Production
Installation (FPI) - 2000
establish the ESFs for the route, transit and site
Supplement 2 -2003 environments. With the trading route history data and the
Supplement 3 - 2004
FPSO site environment inputted, the SEAS program
Spectral-Based Fatigue
Version 9 - 2003
module is executed to determine the α factors for fatigue
Analysis for Floating Version 10 -2004 damage.
Production, Storage and
Offloading (FPSO) The general concept of this type of ESF is to
Systems - 2002
compare fatigue damage resulting from different
SafeHull FEA Guidance
environmental conditions. The alpha type ESFs are
for Hull Structures
Global 3D Analysis
obtained for six regions of the hull structure. This set of
(Draft - 2004) six structural locations with related alpha factors is
compared with the base case for each environment. The
six structural locations are:

Figure 1 Sketch of ABS SafeHull System • Longitudinal on deck.

The SafeHull criteria are a written set of equations or • Longitudinal on bottom plate.
requirements published in the ABS Rules and Guides. • Longitudinal on side shell.
The software programs are tools that facilitate the use of • Longitudinal on longitudinal bulkhead.
the Rule requirements, which may not reflect all the • Longitudinal on inner bottom.
requirements covered by the Rule. When applying the • Longitudinal on centerline bulkhead.
SH criteria, it is understood that the design approval is
not limited to the execution of the SafeHull software. The ESF α factor is defined in SEAS as:
Often this misconception of some designers needs to be
clarified. DU
This paper also illustrates the application of the ABS α= (1)
Guide for Buckling and Ultimate Strength Assessment of
Offshore Structures to determine the buckling of stiffened

82 ABS Floating Production Installations Guide Rule Change: FPSO Fatigue and Strength Assessment

DU = fatigue damage based on the base environment for environments. The fatigue life values calculated for Site
the hull structural regions, which is also called ABS and Unrestricted Service environments are consistent
base-1, and corresponds to the North Atlantic with the vessel headings. This means that for any
environment. structural detail, if head sea is used for Site, the same
DS = fatigue damage based on the considered heading is also used for Unrestricted Service.
environment of historical routes, historical sites or Comparison between alpha factors obtained from
intended site, for the hull structural regions. current SEAS approach and new approach is shown in
Figure 2.
New SEAS Spectral Fatigue Approach
SN F2 curve was used in this study. The environment
The SafeHull simplified fatigue approach had been for this study is a bimodal sea state with Bretschneider
calibrated with tanker fatigue data. In order to take spectrum for local wind generated waves and JONSWAP
advantage of this proven approach and to utilize the spectrum for swells. The cosine4 wave spreading is used
spectral fatigue analysis, a combined approach is used to for swell, and cosine2 spreading for waves. As shown in
calculate the fatigue life for an FPSO at a specific site. the figure, the current SEAS approach and the new
This approach employs the concept of ESF factors. The approach give the same trend for the equal probability
spectral fatigue approach can be calibrated against the case. However, the SEAS current approach predicts more
simplified approach based on the Unrestricted Service conservative results than the new approach does for
environment as: oblique, head and following seas.
S-N Curve Effect on ESF α Factors
LUSimplified (SN curve, Equal prob.)
(2) The α values calculated by SEAS are based on the
= f (SN curve) ⋅ LUSpectral (SN curve, Equal Prob.)
F2 SN curve. However, the SN curve applicable to an
where L is fatigue life, U represents the Unrestricted individual structural detail is not always an F2 curve. For
Service (base) environment, and f (SN curve) is the different SN curves, there are adjustment factors in the
calibration factor between the simplified fatigue approach current SafeHull-Phase A as shown in Table 1. The
and the spectral fatigue approach. In equation (2) the factors given in the table are applied to α factors
fatigue life refers to unrestricted service but the same calculated in the SEAS program.
calibration factor is applicable to environments other than
Unrestricted Service. Table 1 S-N curve adjustment factors for α-factors
C3 (applied to α’s C2 (applied to α’s
The SN curve is fixed to F2 curve in SEAS spectral
of intended and of historical
fatigue analysis. The difference between F2 curve and
Curve historical sites) routes)
other structural details that use other SN curves is
corrected by the S-N curve correction factors that are D 1.10 1.10
presented in Figure 2. In the current SEAS approach, E 1.10 1.05
equal probability wave heading is always used to F 1.05 1.025
calculate fatigue damage in the Unrestricted Service F2 1.0 1.0
Environment. Therefore, the remaining fatigue life LR for G 0.925 0.975
site-specific environment can be expressed as: W 0.85 0.95

L R (E - Curve) = The current SafeHull for FPSO system does not

(3) consider the B and C detail classifications.
f (E - Curve) ⋅ LSpectral (E, requried heading)
Site With these curve adjustment factors, the remaining
fatigue life can be finally written as:
and the ESF α factor in Equation 1 can be written as:
⎛ NR
Si NS Sj ⎞
LSpectral ( F2 , required heading) L R = α 3 C3 ⎜ LSH α 1 − ∑ −∑ ⎟ (6)
α= Site
(4) ⎜ α C α C ⎟
LUSpectral ( F2 , equal prob.) ⎝ i =1 2 , i 2 j =1 2 , j 3 ⎠
In the new spectral fatigue approach, the remaining
NR ,NS represent the numbers of historical routes and
fatigue life is expressed by the following formula:
sites, respectively
Si, Sj represent the service year of the vessel on their
LSpectral (E, required heading) i-th route and j-th site
L R ( E - Curve) = Site

LUSEAS ( Spectral ) (E, required heading) (5) α1 is the ESF fatigue calibration factor between
⋅L Spectral
( E, requried heading) spectral fatigue and SafeHull fatigue
α2i is the ESF fatigue factor between the I-th
The new approach does not use calibration on the
historical route and the ABS Base-2 wave data
spectral fatigue method, because the purpose is not to
cancel the simplified fatigue result, but to use it adjusted α2j is the ESF fatigue factor between the j-th
by a factor that represents the relative severity of the historical site and the ABS Base-1 wave data

ABS Floating Production Installations Guide Rule Change: FPSO Fatigue and Strength Assessment 83

S-N curve correction factor C3 for Deck S-N curve correction factor C3 for bottom
5.000 6.000

4.000 5.000
New approach
New approach
C3 (Deck)

C3 (bottom)
3.000 Factor used in SEAS Factor used in SEAS

0.000 0.000
B C D E F F2 G W B C D E F F2 G W
curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve

S-N curve correction factor C 3 for side shell S-N curve correction factor C3 for LBHD

5.000 5.000

New approach
4.000 4.000
Factor used in SEAS New approach
C3 (side shell)

3.000 3.000 Factor used in SEAS

2.000 2.000

1.000 1.000

0.000 0.000
B C D E F F2 G W B C D E F F2 G W
curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve

S-N curve correction factor C3 for Inner bottom S-N curve correction factor C3 for Centerline
5.000 4.000

New approach 3.000
New approach

C 3 (CLBH)

Factor used in SEAS Factor used in SEAS


1.000 1.000

0.000 0.000
B C D E F F2 G W B C D E F F2 G W
curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve curve

Figure 2 SN curve correction factors for different SN curves

84 ABS Floating Production Installations Guide Rule Change: FPSO Fatigue and Strength Assessment

Figure 3 shows the comparison results of a study that has For SN curves of D and E type, the current SEAS factors
been conducted for the SN curve correction factors using are more conservative than the results obtained for the
the new approach. It is noticed that the correction factors new approach. In addition, the new approach gives the
are very close between the current SEAS approach and correction factors for SN curves of B and C type, which
the new approach for SN curves of F, F2, G, and W type. are not included in the current version of SEAS.

Longitudinals on deck Longitudinals stiifne rs on bottom plate

New approach
25.000 25.000
SEAS current approach New approach
20.000 20.000 SEAS current approach


15.000 15.000

10.000 10.000

5.000 5.000

0.000 0.000
head sea Following sea Equal Oblique head sea Following sea Equal Oblique
probability probability

Longitudinals stiffners on longitudinal bulkhead Longitudinals stiffners on side shell

25.000 25.000
New approach New approach
20.000 SEAS current approach 20.000 SEAS current approach


15.000 15.000

10.000 10.000

5.000 5.000

0.000 0.000
head sea Follow ing sea Equal probability Oblique head sea Follow ing sea Equal probability Oblique

Longitudinals stiffners on centerline bulkhead Longitudinals stiffners on inner bottom

25.000 25.000
New approach New approach
20.000 SEAS current approach 20.000 SEAS current approach


15.000 15.000

10.000 10.000

5.000 5.000

0.000 0.000
head s ea Following sea Equal Oblique head sea Following sea Equal Oblique
probability probability

Figure 3 Comparison of alpha factors obtained from current SEAS approach and new approach

Wave Characterization alternative approach is proposed to consider the effect of a

bi-modal sea state. The essence of this approach is to
A new update in the SEAS program is the bimodal assume that waves and swells can be separated by
wave application. A sea state that comprises coupled decomposing a given wave scatter diagram into two
contributions from both seas and swells is better independent sections: one on the high frequency side
represented by a sea spectrum in a double peak form, such representing waves, and another representing swells. Each
as Ochi-Hubble 6 parameter spectrum. The current section, which is modeled by a single peak spectrum, can
version of SEAS (V10) only accommodates two single- be viewed as a new scatter diagram associated with an
peak wave spectra (Bretschneider and JONSWAP). An occurrence probability. The inverse of the calculated

ABS Floating Production Installations Guide Rule Change: FPSO Fatigue and Strength Assessment 85

α−factors represent the damages for waves and swells. Get element thickness and maternal property
These two separated wave scatter diagrams are to be data for each element from NASTRAN
combined to obtain the final damage, as per Equation (7). output data file.

1 ⎛ 1 1 ⎞
= ⎜⎜ + ⎟ ⋅ C0
⎟ (7) Get element stress range data for each
α final α
⎝ Seas α Swells ⎠ element from SAFEHULL Phase B output
where: data files for unrestricted sea and site cases.

C0 is the time overlap factor for seas and swells

occurring at the same time. Input SN curve type, Input number of
Weibull shape historical route and
parameter, number of site, number of
SEAS has also implemented the Ochi-Hubble double
stress cycles, stress service years for each
peaked spectrum. This allows using the scatter diagrams concentration factor historical route and
without decomposition, and allows to use a different (SCF) and thickness site and their
heading for swells and waves for each cell in the scatter correction data for associated α2 factors.
diagram in the same SEAS run. unrestricted sea and site
Remaining Fatigue Life Calculation
Compute permissible stresses using
New updates for remaining fatigue life calculation for
simplified method for each plate
transverse members have been implemented into thickness
SafeHull-FPSO phase B. A rapid fatigue calculation
scheme for connection details in way of transverse
members has been developed for remaining fatigue life
Compute α3 factor for each
calculations for transverse members in phase B. The element based on F2 SN curve
calculation scheme includes the following steps: using simplified method.

• Make two-phase B runs for β = 1 and β at intended

site. Compute remaining fatigue life for
• The α3 at intended site is then computed based on each element.
two FE results.
• Assume the α2 (historical site) is close to α3
(intended site). Print fatigue life and fatigue check
• The α2 can be calculated separately. result for each element.

The detailed procedure of fatigue strength assessment

for FPSO is shown in Figure 4. Figure 4 Flow chart for remaining fatigue life
calculation for transverse members in Phase B

86 ABS Floating Production Installations Guide Rule Change: FPSO Fatigue and Strength Assessment

SEAS STRENGTH ASSESSMENT As mentioned before, the Beta values are a direct
ENHANCEMENTS function of the environmentally induced loads at the
installation site compared to the unrestricted service
The Definition of Environmental Severity Factor
environment that is the basis of the Rules. The Beta
(ESF) β Factors values can also address other differences and factors
between the design basis of a sea going vessel and a
Environment Severity Factor (β) is a severity moored vessel. These include:
measure of the intended environment relative to the base
i) Different design basis return periods for
environment in SH in terms of extreme loads, or it is environmental loads (20 vs. 100 years).
sometimes called the ratio between the design case and
ii) Major effects of mooring system on predicted
the base case. It is defined in SEAS as
vessel load effects (including weathervane type
LS behavior of a turret moored system).
β= (8) iii) Different assumed wave energy spreading
characterization between the open ocean and a
where site-specific situation.
iv) Different basis of extreme design storm
LS = the most probable extreme load based on site- characterization (e.g., long-term winter storm vs.
specific environment with 100-year return period for the hurricane dominated characterization).
dynamic load parameters, this is the ‘design case’. v) Different assumed wave spectra between the
LU = the most probable extreme load based on open ocean and a site-specific situation.
unrestricted service environment with 20-year return
period for the dynamic load parameters, this is the ‘base The Loading Condition Used to Determine ESF β
case’. In practice, the hull is loaded over a large range of
A β value of 1.0 corresponds to the unrestricted tank loading patterns and external drafts. To determine
condition of a seagoing tanker. A value of β greater than the β factors for tankers, it is assumed that the hull
1.0 indicates a more severe wave induced load loading representing a condition at, or near, the full load
environment than the unrestricted case, and vice versa. case is most appropriate and compatible with the SafeHull
criteria of the ABS Rules for Building and Classing Steel
There are two approaches to calculate base case load For FPSOs, local loads become important as they are
LU. affected by individual tank filling levels and vessel drafts.
The user can input actual loading patterns to reflect these
Approach 1 (current SEAS approach): Equal cases, which can be different from those specified for a
probability wave heading is used to calculate LU. tanker in the ABS Rules for Building and Classing Steel
Approach 2: New enhancements introduce in the The ability to input user defined local loading cases
FPI Guide. The values calculated for LS and LU are to be can be especially important for an FPSO, which in
consistent with vessel headings. This means that for any comparison to a tanker may have reduced local scantlings
dynamic load parameter, if head sea is used for example due to calmer sea conditions. Then otherwise secondary
on the calculation of LS, the same heading is to be used load cases, such as those representing tank testing and the
for the calculation of LU. FPSO’s transit voyage to the installation site may become
significant, even controlling some aspects of the structural
For each dynamic load parameter, the severity design for FPSOs.
measure β is to account for the vessel headings as
• For the intended site, the worst case between USER DEFINED RAOS
head seas, following seas and equal probability SH/FPSO system contains a reference RAO database
• If no rosette information regarding the of global motions and load responses of typical tankers,
environment directionality is available for the which are used by the SEAS ESF program module for
transit condition, the worst case between head determining the ESFs. This database is has been built
seas and equal probability between head seas and from seakeeping analyses of five tankers with lengths
oblique seas (60 degrees from the bow), with between 150 m to 350 m. A major assumption in the
oblique seas coming either from the port or the analysis is that the vessels are taken as free floating, and
starboard side no topside structure has been considered. For FPSOs, the
There are 13 β factors corresponding to the 13 mooring system and topside structure can affect certain
dynamic load parameters specified in ABS FPI Guide. global motions and loads considerably[9]. The
The applications of these β factors are given in Appendix mooring/riser system applies restraints on the global
2 of the FPI Guide. motions of the FPSO, which can no longer be considered
as free floating and the topside structure adds weight to

ABS Floating Production Installations Guide Rule Change: FPSO Fatigue and Strength Assessment 87

the hull, affecting the FPSO’s hydrostatic characteristics Both, the ABS Ship Rules and the Offshore Guide
and thus the motion-induced dynamic inertia response. contain the buckling and ultimate strength assessment for
When the system RAOs is used, the results may not be plates and stiffened panels. In order to establish the
conservative, as each FPSO can have quite different and difference between them, a comparison study is made for
unique turret position mooring and topside arrangements. a converted FPSO hull. The main characteristics of the
The water depth at the installation site is also another FPSO are given in Table 2.
factor that can have an influence on the RAOs. SEAS has
added an RAO database based on 3 FPSOs with lengths Table 2 Main Characteristics of the Converted FPSO
between 320 m and 350 m, besides the database based on
tankers. The FPSO database includes the effect of the Length overall, L 334.0 m
topsides mass distribution. In addition, ABS encourages Length between perpendiculars, LBP 320.0 m
designers and shipyards to perform their own seakeeping Breadth molded, B 54.5 m
analysis to obtain the FPSO RAOs. When using user’s Depth molded, D 27.0 m
RAOs, the RAOs of thirteen (13) DLPs are to be Design draft, T 21.4 m
calculated and inputted into the SEAS ESF program Block coefficient, CB 0.83
module. Steel grade Mild
STRENGTH ASSESSMENT To determine the global response of the hull
structures, a 3-hold FE model of the hull structure within
Buckling and ultimate strength assessments for the 0.4L was created. The total loads of the 18 SafeHull
hull and topsides structures of an FPSO system are to be standard load cases were automatically generated and
performed incorporating Phase B stress analysis. ABS applied to the 3-hold model by SafeHull system. The von
current practice for buckling and ultimate strength Mises stress contour and deflection to Load Case No. 2 is
assessment for the hull structures of an FPSO system illustrated graphically in Figure 5.
should be based on Ship Rules [3] meanwhile the criteria in
the ABS Guide for Buckling and Ultimate Strength
Assessment for Offshore Structures (hereafter called
Offshore Guide)[4] are to be followed for the topsides
The buckling and ultimate strength criteria between
ABS Ship Rules and the Offshore Guide are different. The
criteria from Ship Rules are based on the concept of ‘net
scantling’, which is the Rule minimum design thickness
of as-built ships . The β -factors are introduced to
consider site-specific environmental conditions. The
stresses obtained from SafeHull with the load condition
modified by the β -factors are substituted into the
buckling and ultimate strength criteria from Ship Rules to
assess the buckling and ultimate strength of plate and Figure 5 von Mises Stress Contour and Deflection
stiffened panels. The material reduction factor is to be to Load Case No. 2
taken into consideration to define the permissible stresses
in the criteria. Figure 6 provides the comparison of buckling and
The buckling and ultimate strength criteria in the ultimate strength assessment based on Ship Rules and the
ABS Offshore Guide are based on the gross thickness, Offshore Guide. Some observations from the comparison
which is the Rule minimum thickness plus the Rule study are given below:
corrosion margin or minimum as-gauged value, • The ratio of plate buckling for the deck panels
whichever is smaller. Load conditions representing the and bottom plates is very stable, which lies
operation or most unfavorable loads are to be considered. between 0.83 and 0.85.
In the ABS FPI Guide, the primary loading conditions are • The small slenderness ratio (β = 1.15) of bottom
the ‘Normal Operations’ and ‘Severe Storm’. The former panels and biaxial stresses (σx,σy) located in the
is defined as the operating environmental loading shaded region as shown in Figure 7 cause plate
combined with dead and maximum live loads appropriate ultimate strength difference relatively large
to the function and operations whereas the latter is the compared with others.
design environmental loading combined with dead and • The buckling and ultimate strength ratios are
live loads appropriate to the function and operations significantly affected by the ratio of nominal
during the design condition. The different allowable design corrosion value to nominal design
utilization factors to be used to calculate the permissible thickness. Therefore, they are distributed more
stresses are specified depending on the structural widely for side shell and longitudinal bulkhead
component geometry, loading type and failure modes [4]. panels because the plate thickness and stiffener
dimensions of side shell and longitudinal

88 ABS Floating Production Installations Guide Rule Change: FPSO Fatigue and Strength Assessment

bulkhead vary frequently along the vertical • When SafeHull standard loads are applied,
direction. the Offshore Guide is generally more
• The effect of nominal corrosion design value on conservative than the Ship Rules.
tripping of angle-bar stiffeners is more • ABS will use the Offshore Guide to
significant than flat bar and T-bar stiffeners. The determine buckling of stiffened panel after a
tripping ratio of angle-bar stiffeners shifts toward Rule Change Notice (RCN) is conducted to
1.0. Some of them are even greater than 1.0. modify the FPI Guide.

100% 100%
Number of Panels = 672 Number of Panels =576
Load Cases =18 Load Cases =16
80% 80%

60% 60%

40% 40%

20% 20%

0% 0%
0.7 0.8 0.9 1 1.1 1.2 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.1
Ratio = Ship Rules/Offshore Guide Ratio = Ship Rules/Offshore Guide
PLAT E BUCKLING (Mean=0.8358 COV=0.29%)
PLAT E BUCKLING (Mean=0.8409 COV=0.69%)
PLAT E ULT IMAT E ST RENGT H (Mean=0.7852 COV=6.30%)
ST IFFNER T RIPPING (Mean=0.8462 COV=0.12%)
ST IFFNER T RIPPING (Mean=0.8507 COV=0.14%)

50% 70%
Number of Panels =744 Number of Panels =600
Load Cases =10 60% Load Cases =18

30% 40%


0% 0%
0.7 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.2 0.7 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.2

Ratio = Ship Rules/Offshore Guide Ratio = Ship Rules/Offshore Guide

PLAT E BUCKLING (Mean=0.8910 COV=7.22%) PLAT E BUCKLING (Mean=0.8711 COV=1.62%)
PLAT E ULT IMAT E ST RENGT H (Mean=0.8725 COV=6.78%) PLAT E ULT IMAT E ST RENGT H (Mean=0.8618 COV=2.34%)
ST IFFNER T RIPPING (Mean=0.9758 COV=3.47%) ST IFFNER T RIPPING (Mean=0.9646 COV=1.48%)

Figure 6 Comparison between Ship Rules and Offshore Guide

ABS Floating Production Installations Guide Rule Change: FPSO Fatigue and Strength Assessment 89

anticipated in Gulf of Mexico. The RFL (Year), Year in

1.0 (site of Installation) notation as applied to ‘ordinary
l /s =5.65 Ship Rules conversions’ is mandatory. Notice that a new build FPSO
β=1.15 Offshore Guide relocated to another location cannot be considered
0.8 τ/τ0 =0.50 anymore as a new build. Therefore, for this case still the
RFL(year) Year in (site of installation) applies.


Survey Record Review
Ordinary conversions refer to vessel conversions that
have been previously classed. Prior to structural review,
the survey reports for the vessel that are related to
structural fractures, repairs, or modifications during its
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 service history should be obtained. The service records
should be reviewed to identify whether fractures have
occurred in the hull structure and/or whether the structure
Figure 7 Ultimate Strength Interaction Curves details have been modified during its service life. In
of Bottom Plate Panels addition, it should be noted whether major structural
modifications have taken place that will affect the
OPTIONAL NOTATIONS FOR FPSO INCLUDING scantling review and analysis.
FATIGUE LIFE NOTATIONS A Floating Installation is expected to remain moored
For a new-build ship-shaped FPI (i.e., FPSO, FPS or on site during the entire service life, and it is therefore
FSO) hull structure, the SafeHull criteria are meant to without the ready access to the repair and maintenance
provide a minimum design fatigue life of 20 years. Where facilities used by a ship. The drydocking survey and
a vessel’s design calls for a fatigue life in excess of the special survey of the hull are to be carried out in
minimum design fatigue life of 20 years, the optional accordance with the requirements of ABS Rule
class notation FL (year) will be assigned at the request of Requirements for Survey after Construction. All
the applicant. This optional notation is eligible provided modifications to the vessel are to be carried out in
accordance with ABS approved drawings and follow the
the excess design fatigue life is verified to be in
IACS Shipbuilding and Repair Quality Standard
compliance with the criteria in the Rules for Building and
requirements. All renewed material should be replaced by
Classing Steel Vessels. Only one design fatigue life value
steel of the same or higher grade and to the approved
is published for the entire structural system. Where
design scantling or greater. Workmanship is to be carried
differing design fatigue life values are intended for out in accordance with the ABS Guide for Shipbuilding
different structural elements within the vessel, the (year) and Repair Quality Standard for Hull Structures.
refers to the least of the varying target lives. The ‘design What needs to be emphasized is that in this new
fatigue life’ refers to the target value set by the applicant, update, new bottom plate pitting repair specifications are
not the value calculated in the analysis. The notation FL recommended. The specifications apply to pitting found
(year) denotes that the design fatigue life assessed in both ballast and cargo tank bottom plating. There are
according to the Rules for Building and Classing Steel four main approaches used for dealing with severe bottom
Vessels is greater than the minimum design fatigue life of pitting.
20 years. The (year) refers to the fatigue life equal to 25 (a) Partially Crop and Renew Affected Bottom
years or more (in 5-year increments), as specified by the Plating. Partial cropping and renewal is primarily a matter
applicant. The fatigue life will be identified in the Record of proper welding technique, selection of an adequately
by the notation FL (year); e.g., FL(30) if the minimum sized plate insert and appropriate non-destructive
design fatigue life assessed is 30 years. examination (NDE) of repaired areas.
When an existing tanker is converted to an FPSO, (b) Clean Pitted Areas and Cover with Special
FPS or FSO, in the process referred to as an ‘ordinary’ Coating. Cleaning out and covering with special coating
conversion, and the FPSO, FPS or FSO is classed under without use of filler or weld build-up need only be limited
the provisions of Chapter 4, Section 4 of the ABS FPI by the maximum allowable depth of the pits (or allowable
Guide, the expected minimum remaining fatigue life of minimum remaining thickness of the bottom plating)
the structure is to be documented by recording its value in permitted from a strength or pollution risk standpoint. The
the Record. The RFL notation will be followed by the allowable loss of bottom cross-sectional area must also be
value of the expected minimum remaining fatigue life in considered.
years, the year of maturation of fatigue life and the (c) Clean Pitted Areas and Fill with Plastic
specific site of installation. For example, RFL(15), 2018 Compound Use of plastic compound filler, such as epoxy,
in Gulf of Mexico indicates that the expected minimum can be considered similar to (b) because no strength credit
remaining fatigue life of the structure is 15 years, which is given to the filler material.
will be matured in the year 2018 for conditions

90 ABS Floating Production Installations Guide Rule Change: FPSO Fatigue and Strength Assessment

(d) Fill by welding. Filling with welding warrants welded areas and at intersections of the welded areas and
consideration that is more serious. existing structural welding. Also, for welds of higher-
Suggested welding practices for bottom plating are strength steels, the NDE method is to be suitable for
noted below. detecting sub-surface defects.
For pitting up to 15% of bottom plating thickness, no (h) Coating. In order to reduce the likelihood of
immediate remedial action is necessary. However, if the possible galvanic attack at the boundaries of built-up
surrounding tank bottom is specially coated, corrosion areas, coating over the area with a compound such as
progress in the pitted areas may be very rapid due to the epoxy/glass flake should be considered. Also, where the
area ratio effect of protected versus non-protected pitting is in small areas of coating breakdown, it is
surfaces, therefore, as applicable, the coating is to be essential to restore the coating intact in order to avoid the
repaired. possible rapid corrosion of small bare areas in large
Scattered pitting up to 33% (1/3t) of bottom plating protected areas (area ratio effect).
thickness may be filled with epoxy or other suitable (i) Doublers. Fitting of doublers over pits is not
protective compounds, provided the loss of area at any considered a satisfactory repair. Cleaning and using non-
transverse section of the strake in question does not strength contributory fillings to fit doublers is considered
exceed 10%. Any areas that have been repaired by this a temporary solution subjected to surveyors approval.
method must be “mapped” and noted for close-up survey
in the Survey and Inspection Plan required by ABS FPI
Pitting of any depth may be welded provided there is RULE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
at least 6 mm (0.25in.) remaining original plating
thickness at the bottom of the cavity and there is at least The ABS SafeHull FPSO approach uses the
75 mm (3 in.) between adjacent pit welding areas. The Environmental Severity Factor (ESF) concept to adjust
the tanker unrestricted service criteria of the ABS Steel
maximum nominal diameter of any pit repaired by
Vessel Rules. To maintain some degree of minimum safety
welding may not exceed 300 mm (12 in.).
standards, the FPI Guide has set minimum requirements
The new requirements for the welding of pits are also
specified in the new update and listed below. for certain key design parameters. It is worthwhile to
(a) Pit Welding. It is recommended that pit welding in mention them here.
In the application of the criteria, no individual value
bottom plating be built up at least 3 mm (0.125 in.) above
the level of the surrounding plating and then ground flush. of a strength β factor is to be less than 0.5 and no
This is mandatory for higher-strength steels grades D and minimum required values of any net scantlings is to be
E, for very small areas (less than 75 mm (3 in.) in less than 85% of the value obtained for the unrestricted
diameter and for such welding done afloat. service condition. In particularly, ABS require that the
(b) Surface Preparation. Pitted areas are to be minimum hull girder section modulus of an FPSO shall
thoroughly cleaned of rust, oil and cargo residues prior to not less than 85% of that required for unrestricted service.
welding. This 85% limit is imposed to prevent excessive loss of
(c) Filler Metal. When welding, the filler metal grade hull girder strength due to corrosion as a vessel ages. The
appropriate to the pitted base metal and preheating, if new FPI Rule Change (ABS FPI Guide, April 2004
applicable, are to be employed. version) has released the 0.5 beta limit considering that
(d) Welding While A Vessel Afloat. For welding below now it is a requirement to verify the FPSO transit
the waterline of a vessel afloat, properly dried low condition as well as the tank test condition at the site with
hydrogen electrodes are to be used. The pitted areas an associated 1-year storm environment. Therefore, by
against water backing are to be preheated sufficiently to imposing the 85% limit on the hull girder section
drive off any moisture that might be present. The preheat modulus, it has been verified that the 0.5 limit on the beta
is to cover at least 102 mm (4 in.) of the material factors were redundant.
surrounding the welding or four times the material Therefore, based on the ABS recent experiences on
thickness, whichever is greater. FPSO conversion projects, the following enhancements
(e) Layer of Welding Metal. A layer of weld metal is have been introduced in the SH/FPSO criteria and
to be deposited along a spiral path to the bottom center of software:
the pitted excavation. The slag is to be completely • Calculate loads and required Rule minimum scantling
removed and the next successive layer is to be similarly for transit condition, which now is included in the
deposited to build up the excavation at least 3 mm (0.125 FPI Rule Change. This Rule Change also adds
in.) above the level of the surrounding plating. minimum heading requirements for spread and, or
(f) Extensive Pit Repairs. For extensive pit repairs, turret moored FPSOs.
i.e. greater than 20% intensity, of steel grades D, E and • Calculates fatigue life using as-built scantling
higher strength steel, welding against water backing is not (Tanker) and Rule reassigned / Gauged for FPSO on-
recommended. site service;
(g) Nondestructive Examination. All welds to pitted • Provide program flexibly to add special load cases
areas in bottom plating are to be subject to nondestructive for transit, flooding, offloading and tank inspection,
examination, with particular attention to boundaries of the etc. in Phase B finite element analysis.

ABS Floating Production Installations Guide Rule Change: FPSO Fatigue and Strength Assessment 91

Usually, it is much harder for users to provide the REFERENCES

wave conditions that an oil tanker has experienced on
[1] ABS, 1998, Hull Thickness Measurement (Gauging
route records in past services. SafeHull SEAS provides
Surveys), American Bureau of Shipping
users the convenience to obtain the approximate wave
[2] ABS, 2003, Rules for Building and Classing Steel
conditions from the global wave database, which is called
Vessels, American Bureau of Shipping.
ABSWAVE. For the assessment of pre-existing fatigue
[3] ABS, 2004, Guide for Building and Classing
damages of an FPSO conversion, the wave conditions are
Floating Production Installation, American Bureau
retrieved from the ABSWAVE database along the routes
of Shipping.
that a vessel serviced in the past.
[4] ABS, 2004, Guide for Buckling and Ultimate
In current version of SafeHull SEAS program, the
Strength Assessment for Offshore Structures,
number of canned routes has increased from six to 25.
American Bureau of Shipping.
Table 3 shows the 25 canned routes.
[5] Tam, G and Wu, J.F., 2002. A Rational Approach for
Table 3. Twenty-five canned routes in SH-FPSO V10 the Evaluation of Fatigue Strength of FPSO
1. Dover Strait to New 13. Persian Gulf to Gulf of Structures, The 14th OSEA International Oil & Gas
York Mexico Industry Exhibition and Conference
2. Los Angles to 14. Persian Gulf to Red [6] Tam, G and Huang, W, 2004. SafeHull Application of
Yokohama Sea Existing Tankers to FPSO. OMAE2004-51017, 23rd
3. Valdez to Los Angles 15. Red Sea to Persian Conference on Offshore and Arctic Engineering,
4. Yokohama to Persian Gulf Vancouver, Canada.
Gulf 16. Persian Gulf service [7] Wang, Ge, 2003, A Study of Allowable Reduced Hull
5. Gulf of Mexico to 17. Red Sea service Girder Section Modulus of Ship-Shaped FPSOs, RD
Persian Gulf 18. Med Sea service Report 2003-06, American Bureau of Shipping
6. Dover Strait to Persian 19. Gulf of Mexico to Med [8] Zhao, C., Bai, Y. and Shin Y., 2001, Extreme
Gulf Sea Response and Fatigue Damages for FPSO Structural
7. Dover Strait to Gulf of 20. Med Sea to Gulf of Analysis, Proceedings of the 11th ISOPE Conference,
Mexico Mexico Vol. 1, pp.301
8. Europe to Persian Gulf 21. Africa to North [9] Zhao, C., Wu, J.F, Huang, K, and Shin Y., 2002,
9. Med Sea to Persian America Environmental Severity Factors and their Application
Gulf 22. Persian Gulf to in FPSO Hull Design, OTC 14231, Offshore
10. Persian Gulf to Med Singapore Technology Conference
Sea 23. Singapore to Persian
11. Europe to Med Sea Gulf
12. Gulf of Mexico to 24. Persian Gulf to Korea
Persian Gulf 25. Korea to Persian Gulf

This paper introduced enhancements to FPSO fatigue
and strength assessment procedures that have been
included in the ABS FPI Guide rule change. The
enhancements include new spectral fatigue approach and
bimodal wave application for fatigue assessment and new
buckling and ultimate strength criteria. In addition, the
new ABS FPI Guide introduced optional notations for
FPSO including fatigue life notations and survey
requirement for an “ordinary conversion”. These new
updates represent part of our continuous effort to better
serve our clients as well as the offshore industry.

The authors wish to thank their colleagues who
provided comments. The views expressed in this paper
are those of the authors and are not necessary those of the
American Bureau of Shipping.

92 ABS Floating Production Installations Guide Rule Change: FPSO Fatigue and Strength Assessment