Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
ANTI-TWIST FRAME, VESSEL AND METHOD FOR LOWERING AN OBJECT IN A WATER BODY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/204630
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a method for lowering an object (1) in a water body from a vessel (10) floating on the water body, the vessel comprising first hoisting means (ll')with second hoisting means (11') arranged on or near the vessel, with at least a first anti-twist frame (ATF, 4', 7) being connected to a lower end of a first hoisting cable (3') of the first hoisting means, the object being attached to the lower end of the first hoisting cable, below the ATF. The ATF is connected by an anti-twist wire (8) to a second hoisting cable (3") of the second hoising means. A clump weight (6) is attached to the end of the second hoisting cable.

More Like This:
JPS6397595BODY TREATER
Inventors:
ADAMS, Cornelis Gerardus Nicolaas (Havenstraat 23, 3115 HC SCHIEDAM, 3115 HC, NL)
Application Number:
NL2017/050324
Publication Date:
November 30, 2017
Filing Date:
May 23, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
JUMBO MARITIME B.V. (Havenstraat 23, 3115 HC SCHIEDAM, 3115 HC, NL)
International Classes:
B66C1/62; B63B27/10; B66C13/08; B66C23/52
Domestic Patent References:
WO2012151631A12012-11-15
Other References:
DATABASE WPI Week 201562, Derwent World Patents Index; AN 2015-48585X, XP002773278
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALGEMEEN OCTROOI- EN MERKENBUREAU B.V. (P.O. Box 645, 5600 AP EINDHOVEN, 5600 AP, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . Method for lowering an object (1 ) in a water body (2) from a vessel floating on the water body, the vessel comprising first hoisting means (3'), and second hoisting means (3") arranged on or near the vessel, with at least a first anti-twist frame (ATF) (4') being connected to a lower end (5') of a first hoisting cable (27') of the first hoisting means, the object being attached to the lower end of the first hoisting cable, below the ATF, comprising the steps of:

a) adjusting the vessel's heading (29) such that the vessel is substantially aligned with the wind/wave/swell direction (28),

b) lowering the object in the water body with the first hoisting means until the object has reached a first depth (FD);

c) using the second hoisting means to lower the object together with the first hoisting means as found in step b), or else, to lower a clump weight (6) in the water body to the first depth (FD), wherein the object or the clump weight is connected to the lower end of the second hoisting cable,

d) providing an anti-twist wire (8) extending between the first ATF and the second hoisting cable (27"), the first ATF comprising a circumferential part (24) with connection means (25) arranged for connecting the anti-twist wire at a plurality of connection points (20', 20") on the circumferential part, in a plurality of directions, and selecting such a connection point that, after connection, twist of the first hoisting cable is minimized, and

e) using the first and/or second hoisting means to lower the object onto the bottom of the water body.

2. Method according to claim 1 , further comprising, when a clump weight is used: arranging an orientation wire (9) between the lower ends of the first and second hoisting cables, near the object and the clump weight. 3. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the ATF (4) comprises a central part (23) for attachment to a crane block and the circumferential part (24) is connected to the central part and extending in a plane perpendicular to the respective hoisting cable.

4. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein a second anti- twist frame (ATF) (4") is connected to a crane block (12") arranged near a lower end (5") of the second hoisting cable (27') of the second hoisting means and the anti-twist wire (8) extends between the first ATF and the second ATF, wherein the connection points (20', 20") of the anti-twist wire on the first ATF and the second ATF are so chosen, that, after connection, twist of the first and second hoisting cables is minimized. 5. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein multiple connection means, such as pad-eyes, are arranged at multiple positions along the circumference of the circumferential part to allow the longitudinal direction of the anti- twist wire to intersect the longitudinal direction of the respective hoisting cable for a plurality of anti-twist wire directions.

6. Method according to claim 5, wherein the connection means are spaced-apart along the circumference at a mutual spacing angle of 20-30°.

7. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the at least one anti-twist wire and the at least one orientation wire are substantially parallel.

8. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the clump weight is slewed away from the object at the first depth (FD) in such a way that the anti-twist wire is brought under tension.

9. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the method further comprises monitoring at least one of the steps b) - e) with a subsea vehicle.

10. Method according to claim 9, wherein the subsea vehicle is a remotely operated vehicle (ROV).

1 1 . Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the first depth (FD) is 25-75 m, preferably about 50 m, under the waterline (WL).

12. Vessel for use with a method according to any of the preceding claims 1 -1 1 , comprising first and second hoisting means (3', 3") arranged on a deck of the vessel, at one side of the vessel, a first and/or a second anti-twist frame (ATF) (4', 4") and an anti-twist wire for arrangement between the first and second ATF or the first ATF and the second hoisting cable, wherein the first and/or second ATF comprise a circumferential part (24) with connection means (25) arranged for connecting the anti- twist wire at a plurality of connection points (20', 20") on the circumferential part, in a plurality of directions. 13. Anti-twist frame (ATF) (4) for use with the method according to any one of the claims 1 -1 1 , comprising a circumferential part (24) with connection means (25) arranged for connecting the anti-twist wire at a plurality of connection points (20', 20") on the circumferential part, in a plurality of directions. 14. ATF according to claim 13, comprising a central part (23) for attachment to the crane block, wherein the circumferential part (24) is connected to the central part and extends in a plane perpendicular to the respective hoisting cable, during use.

15. ATF according to claim 13 or 14, wherein multiple connection means, such as pad-eyes, are arranged at multiple positions along the circumference of the circumferential part to allow the longitudinal direction of the anti-twist wire to intersect the longitudinal direction of the respective hoisting cable for a plurality of anti-twist wire directions. 16. ATF according to claim 15, wherein the connection means are spaced-apart along the circumference at a mutual spacing angle of 20-30°.

Description:
ANTI-TWIST FRAME, VESSEL AND METHOD FOR LOWERING AN OBJECT IN A WATER BODY

Description

Field of the invention

The present invention relates to a method for lowering an object in a water body. The present invention also relates to a vessel for carrying out such a method and an anti-twist frame (ATF) for use with such a method.

Background of the invention

In the prior art, methods are known for underwater installation of structures. A disadvantage of these methods is that especially for deep water purposes the hoisting cable used for the underwater installation may rotate/twist about a vertically oriented axis, thereby damaging the hoisting cable due to excessive twist.

The British patent publication GB 2,519,997 A addresses the related problem of "cabling", which is a phenomenon wherein imbalanced torsional characteristics of two cables, being used in 2-fall or parallel operation to lower or raise a load, can result in the cables axially rotating, causing the effective cable separation to decrease, and possibly resulting in rotational entanglement of the two cables employed. This can occur both in single cable hoist systems used in 2-fall configuration, as well as in parallel winch operations using cables of opposite hand lay.

In US Patents No. 6,588,985 and 6,771 ,563, an apparatus comprising underwater propulsion means has been proposed for deploying an object or a load, being coupled to a hoist, on the seabed from a vessel and position them at an underwater installation site without the use of guide wires. The apparatus further comprises a main module, provided with drive means such as thrusters, and a second or counter module. The specific positioning of the thrusters of the main module and of the counter module provide, at opposite sides of the lifting wire, a counter-torque that can be exerted at the hoist wire in both directions. In this way, the object can be accurately positioned on the seabed. However, the problem of lifting wire twist is mentioned but not satisfactorily solved. Furthermore, from practice, anti-twist methods are known wherein on each side of the crane block anti-twist beams are arranged. However, a problem with such a system is that it can only be used for a single vessel heading.

An object of the invention is thus to provide a method for lowering an object in a water body, wherein the method can be employed in a wide range of wind/wave/swell directions and twist of the hoisting cable is minimized.

Summary of the invention Hereto, the invention provides a method for lowering an object in a water body from a vessel floating on the water body, the vessel comprising first hoisting means, and second hoisting means arranged on or near the vessel, with at least a first anti- twist frame (ATF) being connected to a lower end of a first hoisting cable of the first hoisting means, the object being attached to the lower end of the first hoisting cable, below the ATF, comprising the steps of:

a) adjusting the vessel's heading such that the vessel is substantially aligned with the wind/wave/swell direction,

b) lowering the object in the water body with the first hoisting means until the object has reached a first depth (FD);

c) using the second hoisting means to lower the object together with the first hoisting means as found in step b), or else, to lower a clump weight in the water body to the first depth (FD), wherein the object or the clump weight is connected to the lower end of the second hoisting cable,

d) providing an anti-twist wire extending between the first ATF and the second hoisting cable, the first ATF comprising a circumferential part with connection means arranged for connecting the anti-twist wire at a plurality of connection points on the circumferential part, in a plurality of directions, and selecting such a connection point that, after connection, twist of the first hoisting cable is minimized, and

e) using the first and/or second hoisting means to lower the object onto the bottom of the water body.

The method advantageously allows the vessel's heading to be substantially aligned with the wind/wave/swell direction prior to the lowering operation, by proper selection of the connection point of the anti-twist wire on the ATF and the second hoisting cable (which could also be provided with a second ATF) and by selecting matching positions of the first and second hoisting means during arrangement of the anti-twist wire, such that during lowering twist of the first hoisting cable is minimized. The inventor has found that in practice the method can be carried out for a vessel heading range of 360° (i.e. omnidirectional). This is unheard of in the industry.

In the context of this patent application a 'vessel' is to be understood as a structure capable of floating on water, such as a barge, a motorized ship, et cetera. However, the method could also be used with structures fixed with respect to (or in) the water body.

The method could further comprise, when a clump weight is used: arranging an orientation wire between the lower ends of the first and second hoisting cables, near the object and the clump weight to create an anti-twist framework.

Preferably, the ATF comprises a central part for attachment to a crane block and the circumferential part is connected to the central part and extending in a plane perpendicular to the respective hoisting cable. When a horseshoe-shaped part is used, the open side of the horseshoe-shaped part points towards the respective hoisting means, such as a crane on a vessel.

The first and/or second hoisting means preferably comprise a crane and the central part of the ATF is arranged for attachment to a crane block of the crane. The crane (boom) must be rotatable in a horizontal plane as well as a vertical plane, such that the ideal crane radius and heading can be achieved.

In an embodiment, a second anti-twist frame (ATF) is connected to a crane block arranged near a lower end of the second hoisting cable of the second hoisting means and the anti-twist wire extends between the first ATF and the second ATF, wherein the connection points of the anti-twist wire on the first ATF and the second ATF are so chosen, that, after connection, twist of the first and second hoisting cables is minimized. Thus, effectively, a double ATF configuration is provided.

In an embodiment of the aforementioned method, multiple connection means, such as pad-eyes, are arranged at multiple positions along the circumference of the circumferential part to allow the longitudinal direction of the anti-twist wire to intersect the longitudinal direction of the respective hoisting cable for a plurality of anti-twist wire directions. These multiple connection means allow the anti-twist wire to be arranged relative to one or both ATF's in an optimal way.

Preferably, the connection means (and preferably the directions associated therewith) are spaced-apart along the circumference at a mutual spacing angle of 20- 30°. Such a spacing provides a large degree of flexibility for connecting the anti-twist wire to the ATF's. In practice, a closer spacing appears not necessary, whereas a larger spacing limits the options for providing an optimal connection between the ATF's.

Preferably, the at least one anti-twist wire and the at least one orientation wire are substantially parallel for ease of connection and for having a maximally effective anti-twist framework. Advantageously, the use of multiple wires allows for creating a more reliable frame-like structure. 'Parallel' is to be broadly understood as the one wire having a directional component extending parallel to the directional component of the other wire in the hoisting plane. For instance, crossing (X) wires or slightly converging/diverging wires also comply with the above definition of 'parallel'.

The clump weight is preferably arranged at the first depth (FD) in such a way that the anti-twist wire is brought under tension, in particular by the sheer weight of the clump weight.

Preferably, the method further comprises monitoring (or carrying out) at least one of the steps b) - e) with a subsea vehicle. Advantageously, no divers are required then.

More preferably, the subsea vehicle is a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). Such an ROV can both monitor the steps, as well as be involved in performing these steps (when provided with a robotic arm or the like).

Advantageously, the first depth (FD) is 25-75 m, preferably about 50 m, under the waterline (WL). Thus, the risk of something going wrong during the critical steps of lowering the object from the waterline (WL) to the first depth (FD) and arrangement of the anti-twist wire is relatively low due to proximity to the waterline.

Another aspect of the invention concerns a vessel for use with the aforementioned method, comprising first and second hoisting means arranged on a deck of the vessel, at one side of the vessel, a first and a second anti-twist frame (ATF) and an anti-twist wire for arrangement between the first and second ATF or the first ATF and the second hoisting cable, wherein the first and/or second ATF comprise a circumferential part with connection means arranged for connecting the anti-twist wire at a plurality of connection points on the circumferential part, in a plurality of directions.

Yet another aspect of the invention relates to an anti-twist frame (ATF) for use with the aforementioned method, comprising a circumferential part with connection means arranged for connecting the anti-twist wire at a plurality of connection points on the circumferential part, in a plurality of directions, such as at least two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, or more (horizontal) directions.

An embodiment relates to an ATF comprising a central part for attachment to the crane block, wherein the circumferential part is connected to the central part and extends in a plane perpendicular to the respective hoisting cable, during use.

A further embodiment relates to an aforementioned ATF, wherein multiple connection means, such as pad-eyes, are arranged at multiple positions along the circumference of the circumferential part to allow the longitudinal direction of the anti- twist wire to intersect the longitudinal direction of the respective hoisting cable for a plurality of anti-twist wire directions.

Preferably, the connection means are spaced-apart along the circumference at a mutual spacing angle of 20-30°.

Brief description of the drawings

The invention will be explained in more detail below with reference to drawings in which illustrative embodiments thereof are shown. They are intended exclusively for illustrative purposes and not to restrict the inventive concept, which is defined by the appended claims.

Figure 1 shows a top view of a vessel at the destination for installing the object during step c) of the method;

Figure 2 shows a schematic view of a submerging step of a method for lowering an object in a water body in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

Figure 3 shows a schematic view of a lowering step of the method of figure 2 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

Figure 4a shows a schematic view of an underwater anti-twist framework with a clump weight;

Figure 4b shows a schematic view of an underwater anti-twist framework with the second hoisting means connected to a further part of the object;

Figure 5 shows a schematic view of a lowering step of the method of figure 2 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

Figure 6 shows a schematic front view of a dual anti-twist crane structure in accordance with an embodiment of the invention; and Figure 7 shows a schematic top view of an anti-twist frame in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

Detailed description of embodiments

Figure 1 shows a top view of a vessel at a destination position for installing an object 1 on the bottom of the water body 2, in this case the seabed 26. During the aforementioned step a) as shown, the vessel's heading 29 can be adjusted such that the vessel is substantially aligned with the wind/wave direction 28. During step c) the connection point 20', 20" of the anti-twist wire 8 on each of the individual ATF's 4', 4" and the rotational positions/directions 30, 31 of the first and second hoisting means 3', 3" are so chosen, that twist of the first and second hoisting cables is minimized. The only limitations that are present concern limits on the amount of acceptable pre- twist and a limit to the rotational ability of the hoisting means 3', 3" (i.e. during the lowering operation the hoisting means 3, 3" can not be rotated so far as to collide with the vessel's side). Although a configuration is shown with two ATF's, according to the invention, a single ATF is sufficient to provide the stated benefits.

Figure 2 shows a schematic view of a submerging step of a method for lowering an object 1 in a water body 2 using first and second hoisting means 3', 3", such as a crane with a hoisting wire, provided with respectively a first and a second anti-twist frame 4', 4". The first and a second anti-twist frame 4', 4" are provided at a lower end 5', 5" of a respective hoisting cable 27', 27". The water body 2 can for example be a sea, ocean or any other kind of water volume. The second hoisting means 3" could also comprise a winch or the like.

The first hoisting means 3' is arranged for lowering the object 1 below the waterline WL into the water body 2. The second hoisting means 3" is arranged for lowering a clump weight 6, shown in figure 3, below the waterline WL into the water body 2. The lower ends 5', 5" are arranged for receiving the first and a second anti- twist frame 4', 4". Furthermore, the lower ends 5', 5" are arranged for releasable connection with the object 1 and the clump weight 6. The first and the second anti- twist frame 4', 4" are arranged for preventing twist of respectively the first and second hoisting means 3', 3". Alternatively, the second hoisting means 3" can also be connected to (another part of) the object 1 (as shown in figure 3b) or just be provided with the clump weight 6, without an ATF. In a submerging step of the aforementioned method for lowering an object 1 in a water body 2 using the hoisting means 3', 3", the object 1 is releasably connected to the lower end 5'of the first hoisting means 3'. Then the object 1 is lowered below the waterline WL into the water body 2 until the object 1 has basically reached a first depth FD.

Figure 3 shows a schematic view of a first lowering step of the method of figure 2 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. In a second step of the method, a clump weight 6 is releasably connected to the lower end 5" of the second hoisting means 3" (i.e. the second hoisting cable 27"). The clump weight 6 is introduced in the water body 1 and lowered via the second hoisting means 3" to substantially the first depth FD. At the first depth FD, a hoisting plane is defined by the longitudinal directions of the first and second hoisting means 3', 3".

Figure 4a shows a variant of an underwater anti-twist framework 7 created with the method according to the invention. The underwater anti-twist framework 7 is created in the hoisting plane by releasably connecting an anti-twist wire 8 to connection points 20', 20". Analogously, an orientation wire 9 is arranged between the object 1 and the clump weight 6. The connection points 20', 20", 21 , 22 are therefore located on the first and second hoisting means 3', 3" in the vicinity of respectively the object 1 and the clump weight 6. When the second hoisting means 3" is connected to (another part of) the object 1 , the orientation wire 9 can of course be omitted. This variant is shown in figure 4b.

Furthermore, it is possible to use alternative configurations with connection points in the hoisting plane for creating the framework 7. And, as stated before, the second ATF can in principle be omitted.

Figure 5 shows a schematic view of a second lowering step of the method of figure 1 . The object 1 is lowered onto the seabed 26, Preferably, the clump weight 6 does not touch the seabed 26 during this last lowering action.

Figure 6 shows a schematic view of a dual anti-twist crane structure for lowering an object 1 in a water body 2. The dual anti-twist crane structure comprises at least one support structure 10 (such as the deck or hull of a vessel). The at least one support structure 10 is arranged for supporting a first and second crane 1 1 ', 1 1 ". The first and second cranes are arranged for lowering loads, such as the object 1 , in the water body 2. In an embodiment of the invention, the first and second crane 1 1 ', 1 1 " can be supported by respectively a first and a second structure of the at least one support structures 10. Each crane 1 1 ', 1 1 " comprises a crane block 12', 12" which, during use, is provided with respectively a first and a second anti-twist frame 4', 4".

During operation the first and second cranes 1 1 ', 1 1 " are arranged in such a manner that the water body is in working range of the first and second crane 1 1 ', 1 1 ". Moreover, the destination position in the water body 2 also needs to be within working range of the first and second crane 1 1 ', 1 1 ".

Figure 7 shows a schematic view of an embodiment of an anti-twist frame 4, for instance for attachment to a crane block 12 of a crane. The anti-twist frame 4 comprises a front and a back frame part 13, 14, with the back frame part 14 directed towards the crane during use. The front and the back frame part 13, 14 are interconnectable. Each frame part 13, 14 comprises a connection plate 15', 15". The connection plates 15', 15" are arranged for attaching respectively the front frame part 13 and back frame part 14 to the crane block 12. Essentially, the anti-twist frame comprising a central part 23 for attachment to the crane block 12 and a circumferential part 24 to which the anti-twist wire 8 is to be connected. Thereto, the circumferential part 24 is provided with multiple connection means 25 arranged at regularly-spaced intervals on the outside of the circumferential part 24, such that the orientation of the anti-twist frame 4 can be adapted accurately and connection of the anti-twist wire 8 is facilitated. The anti-twist frame as shown has a circumferential part 24 in the shape of a truncated octagon (when viewed from above), preferably a truncated regular octagon. The truncation is present at a back side of the anti-twist frame. The intervals may enclose a (horizontal) angle of for instance 30-60°, preferably 20-30°, relative to the centerline of the first hoisting cable. According to the invention, the connection means 25 are arranged for connecting the anti-twist wire 8 at a plurality of connection points 20', 20" on the circumferential part 24, over an angular range, in a horizontal plane, during use, of at least 45°, 90° or 180°, such as at least 190°, 200°, 210°, 220°, 230°, 240°, 250°, 260°, but more preferably at least 270°, such as at least 280°, 290°, 300°, 310°, 320°, 330°, 340°, 350°, or even 360° (omnidirectional), and selecting such a connection point that, after connection, twist of the hoisting cable(s) is minimized.

More preferably, the connection means 25 comprise pad-eye anti-twist wire connections arranged for connection of an anti-twist wire to prevent twist of the anti- twist frame 4. Other alternatives and equivalent embodiments of the present invention are conceivable within the idea of the invention, as will be clear to the person skilled in the art. The scope of the invention is limited only by the appended claims.

List of reference signs

1 . Object

2. Water body

3'. First hoisting means

3". Second hoisting means

4. Anti-twist frame

4'. Anti-twist frame of the first hoisting means

4". Anti-twist frame of the second hoisting means

5'. Lower end of the first hoisting means

5". Lower end of the second hoisting means

6. Clump weight

7. Anti-twist framework

8. Anti-twist wire

9. Orientation wire

10. Support structure

1 1 '. First crane

1 1 ". Second crane

12. Crane block

12'. First crane block

12". Second crane block

13. Front frame part

14. Back frame part

15'. Front connection plate

15". Back connection plate

20'. Connection point of the first hoisting means

20". Connection point of the second hoisting means

21 . Connection point of the object

22. Connection point of the clump weight

23. Central part

24. Circumferential part

25. Connection means

26. Seabed 27'. First cable

27". Second cable

28. Wind/wave direction

29. Vessel longitudinal axis (vessel's heading) 30. Rotational direction of first hoisting means

31 . Rotational direction of second hoisting means

32. Object heading

WL. Waterline

FD. First depth

S. Symmetry axis