NL2004801C2 - Marine load raising and lowering system. - Google Patents

Marine load raising and lowering system. Download PDF

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Publication number
NL2004801C2
NL2004801C2 NL2004801A NL2004801A NL2004801C2 NL 2004801 C2 NL2004801 C2 NL 2004801C2 NL 2004801 A NL2004801 A NL 2004801A NL 2004801 A NL2004801 A NL 2004801A NL 2004801 C2 NL2004801 C2 NL 2004801C2
Authority
NL
Netherlands
Prior art keywords
cable
lowering
winch
coupling
vessel
Prior art date
Application number
NL2004801A
Other languages
Dutch (nl)
Inventor
Ronny Lambertus Waltherus Nouwens
Terence Willem August Vehmeijer
Original Assignee
Itrec Bv
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Itrec Bv filed Critical Itrec Bv
Priority to NL2004801A priority Critical patent/NL2004801C2/en
Priority to NL2004801 priority
Priority claimed from US13/701,135 external-priority patent/US9103471B2/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of NL2004801C2 publication Critical patent/NL2004801C2/en

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B63SHIPS OR OTHER WATERBORNE VESSELS; RELATED EQUIPMENT
    • B63BSHIPS OR OTHER WATERBORNE VESSELS; EQUIPMENT FOR SHIPPING 
    • B63B27/00Arrangement of ship-based loading or unloading equipment for cargo or passengers
    • B63B27/08Arrangement of ship-based loading or unloading equipment for cargo or passengers of winches
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B63SHIPS OR OTHER WATERBORNE VESSELS; RELATED EQUIPMENT
    • B63CLAUNCHING, HAULING-OUT, OR DRY-DOCKING OF VESSELS; LIFE-SAVING IN WATER; EQUIPMENT FOR DWELLING OR WORKING UNDER WATER; MEANS FOR SALVAGING OR SEARCHING FOR UNDERWATER OBJECTS
    • B63C7/00Salvaging of disabled, stranded, or sunken vessels; Salvaging of vessel parts or furnishings, e.g. of safes; Salvaging of other underwater objects
    • B63C7/02Salvaging of disabled, stranded, or sunken vessels; Salvaging of vessel parts or furnishings, e.g. of safes; Salvaging of other underwater objects in which the lifting is done by hauling
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B66HOISTING; LIFTING; HAULING
    • B66CCRANES; LOAD-ENGAGING ELEMENTS OR DEVICES FOR CRANES, CAPSTANS, WINCHES, OR TACKLES
    • B66C1/00Load-engaging elements or devices attached to lifting or lowering gear of cranes or adapted for connection therewith for transmitting lifting forces to articles or groups of articles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B66HOISTING; LIFTING; HAULING
    • B66CCRANES; LOAD-ENGAGING ELEMENTS OR DEVICES FOR CRANES, CAPSTANS, WINCHES, OR TACKLES
    • B66C13/00Other constructional features or details
    • B66C13/18Control systems or devices
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16LPIPES; JOINTS OR FITTINGS FOR PIPES; SUPPORTS FOR PIPES, CABLES OR PROTECTIVE TUBING; MEANS FOR THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16L1/00Laying or reclaiming pipes; Repairing or joining pipes on or under water
    • F16L1/12Laying or reclaiming pipes on or under water

Description

P30248NL00/MVE

Marine load raising and lowering system

The invention relates to a marine load raising and lowering system for use on a vessel, preferably a vessel for laying an offshore pipeline.

Such a system is well known, for example on vessels used for laying pipelines. The system 5 is then used in particular for abandoning and recovering a pipeline, to which system and method are referred to as an A&R system and an A&R method. During pipelaying, it is sometimes necessary to abandon a pipeline and recover it later. For example, a pipeline might need to be abandoned due to weather conditions or alternatively for the vessel to be loaded with pipeline, e.g. on a reel. Conventionally, such A&R method is carried out by 10 connecting an A&R head to the end of the laid pipeline; connecting a cable to this head; transferring pipeline tension from a pipeline tensioning arrangement on the vessel that is used during pipelaying to a winch via the cable; and laying the pipeline and the head on the bottom of the sea by controlled lowering of the cable via driving means of the winch.

15 A marine load raising and lowering system may also be used to place other components on the bottom of the sea, e.g. a canister.

US 7,182,550 discloses an A&R system and method using a single winch, cable and associated driving means for lowering and raising the laid pipeline. The use of this system in 20 deep water, e.g. several hundred metres or even more than one kilometre causes several problems. The cable associated with the winch must have a very high tensile strength to support a heavy load. This requirement leads to a heavy cable with the result that the weight of the cable itself becomes a further factor. Thus an even higher load capacity of the winch will be required.

25

This problem may be solved in a known manner by providing a first winch comprising first driving means for raising or lowering a first cable portion and a second winch comprising second driving means for raising or lowering a second cable portion, see for instance the international publication WO 2009/002142 of the applicant. Operating means are provided 30 which are connected to the first and second driving means of the first and second winch for synchronising the driving means so as to perform synchronous raising and lowering of the first and second cable portions. The first cable portion and the second cable portion are -2 - interconnected at the lower ends via a rotatable equalizing sheave. This sheave will rotate when the operation of the first and second cable portions is not fully synchronous, thereby preventing overload of the cable portions when only a small deviation of synchronicity occurs. The load connector, to which the load is or can be attached, is connected to the axle 5 of the equalizing sheave.

A disadvantage of the system according to WO 2009/002142 is that especially for deep water purposes the load connector may rotate about a vertical oriented axis, thereby entangling the two cable portions. As the first and second cable can move relative to each 10 other due to rotation of the equalizing sheave, the entangled cable portions may graze each other which leads to increased wear resulting in reduced lifetime and possibly breakage of the cable portions.

It is therefore an object of the invention to provide an improved load raising and lowering 15 system, in particular a load raising and lowering system in which wear of the cable portions is reduced.

This object is achieved by providing a marine load raising and lowering system for use on a vessel, preferably a vessel for laying an offshore pipeline, which system comprises: 20 - a first winch comprising first driving means for raising or lowering a first cable from the first winch; - a second winch comprising second driving means for raising or lowering a second cable from the second winch; - operating means connected to the first and second driving means of respectively the first 25 and second winch for synchronising the driving means so as to perform synchronous raising or lowering of the first and second cable; - a load connector; characterized in that the first and second cable are both connected to the load connector with a respective terminal end of the first and second cable, and in that the system further 30 comprises a first tension equalizing mechanism adapted to equalize the tension in the first and second cables, said first tension equalizing mechanism having interconnected first cable-engaging members to engage with the first and second cable, wherein said first cable-engaging members are moveable relative to a first reference structure to be mounted on the vessel, and wherein said first tension equalizing mechanism is configured to move the first 35 cable-engaging members under the effect of a difference in tension in the first and second cable so as to equalize said tensions.

-3-

An advantage of the first tension equalizing mechanism is that the relative movement of the cable portions between the first tension equalizing mechanism and the load connector (where the entanglement will take place) is decreased, thereby reducing wear of the two cables.

5

Another advantage may be that the load connector is supported by at least two cables instead of one cable, thereby resulting in a more redundant system.

Yet another advantage may be that the connection of the cables to the load connector 10 requires less space then in case of a relatively large equalizing sheave, so that the load connector is able to pass smaller openings, e.g. such as openings in tensioners, or moonpools.

In an embodiment, the first cable-engaging members comprise a first sheave to engage with 15 the first cable and a second sheave to engage with the second cable. As the first and second sheaves are able to rotate thereby moving along with the respective first and second cable, wear between the first cable-engaging members and the first and second cable is minimized.

20 To minimize the occupied space of the first cable-engaging members, rotation axes of the first and second sheave may be aligned on a common axis.

In an embodiment, the system comprises one or more sheaves upstream and/or downstream of the first tension equalizing system to guide the first and second cable from 25 and to the first cable-engaging members. The sheaves are preferably fixed to the vessel.

The sheaves ensure minimal wear of the cables when passing the sheaves due to their rotation possibilities. Another advantage of the sheaves may be that they direct a portion of the respective cables in another direction than the main portion of the cables which will have 30 a substantially vertical orientation when not wound on the winches. Movement of the first cable-engaging members then hauls in one cable and pays out the other cable thereby allowing to equalize the tensions in said cables. As cables, and especially long cables for deepwater purposes, will also have a spring-like behaviour, equalizing the tension will only cause movement of the cables in a top portion near the first tension equalizing mechanism 35 and minimal movement at a bottom portion near the load connector. Hence decreasing the wear of the cables due to this movement.

-4-

As the tension equalizing mechanism is only able to equalize the tensions in the cables, it is not able to protect an overload in the cables due to undesired vessel motions. Therefore, preferably a heave compensator is provided to haul in or pay out both cables at the same time to compensate for the undesired vessel motions and protect the cables from an 5 overload.

In an embodiment, the heave compensator is provided on the first and second winch. Alternatively, the heave compensator may be provided between the first and second winch and the tension equalizing mechanism. The heave compensator may also be integrated in 10 the tension equalizing mechanism, for instance by providing a cylinder between the first cable-engaging members.

In an embodiment, the heave compensator is provided for one of the first or second cable only. To protect the other cable from overload, the heave compensator cooperates with the 15 tension equalizing mechanism. In such a case, the heave compensator will haul in or pay out one of the first or second cable due to vessel motions, and the tension equalizing mechanism will ensure that the other of the first or second cable is paid out or hauled in as well. To work properly, the working range of the tension equalizing mechanism must be large enough or the winches should be controlled properly based on movement of the 20 tension equalizing mechanism in order to limit said movement of the tension equalizing mechanism. Movement of the tension equalizing mechanism can be measured using a displacement sensor.

In an embodiment, each of the first and second winch is a traction winch cooperating with a 25 respective storage winch driven by associated operating means which are configured to provide a hold-back force in the first and second cable for the respective traction winch. An advantage of this system is that usually the traction winch can be designed smaller (and therefore lighter) compared to the storage winch, so that for instance the traction winch can be more easily mounted to a pipelaying tower or other kind of structure, while the storage 30 winch can be mounted in a more suitable location where space and mass is less of an issue. Mounting the traction winch on a tower or other kind of structure may reduce the moments applied by the traction winch to said tower or said other kind of structure.

Preferably, a hold-back force sensor is provided in contact with the operating means of the 35 storage winches in order to synchronize movement of the storage winches with the respective first and second winch.

-5-

In an embodiment, a displacement sensor in contact with the operating means is provided measuring the displacement of the first cable-engaging members to correct for non-synchronous raising or lowering of the first and second cable. This makes it possible to keep the first cable-engaging members within a predetermined displacement range and thus may 5 reduce the size of the first tension equalizing mechanism.

Preferably, in case of two cables only, the first reference structure is fixed relative to the vessel. The first reference structure can also be moveable, e.g. when it is part of or connected to a heave compensator.

10

In an embodiment, the system comprises: - a third winch comprising third driving means for raising or lowering a third cable from the third winch; - a fourth winch comprising fourth driving means for raising or lowering a fourth cable from 15 the fourth winch; - a second tension equalizing mechanism having interconnected second cable-engaging members to engage with the third and fourth cable, wherein the second cable-engaging members are moveable relative to a second reference structure to be mounted on the vessel, and wherein the second tension equalizing system is 20 configured to move the second cable-engaging members under the effect of a difference in tension in the third and fourth cable so as to equalize said tensions, and wherein the third and fourth cable are each connected to the load connector with a respective terminal end of the third and fourth cable, and wherein the first and second reference structures of the first and second tension equalizing mechanisms are interconnected, said first and second 25 reference structures being moveable relative to a third reference structure to be mounted on the vessel so as to equalize the tensions in the first, second, third and fourth cable.

In this embodiment, the first and second reference structures of the first and second tension equalizing mechanism are preferably moveable relative to the vessel. The third reference 30 structure is preferably fixed to the vessel.

The first and/or second cable-engaging members are preferably interconnected using a beam or a connecting cable. In case of a connecting cable, the corresponding reference structure may be a sheave across which the connecting cable is run.

35 -6-

In case of a first and second tension equalizing mechanism, the corresponding reference structures are preferably interconnected using a beam or a connecting cable similar to the interconnection of the first and second cable-engaging members.

5 In an embodiment, the load raising and lowering system operates as an abandonment and recovery system.

The invention also relates to a method for lowering a load from a vessel, preferably a vessel for laying an offshore pipeline, wherein use is made of a load raising and lowering system 10 comprising first and second winches with respective first and second driving means for raising or lowering first and second cables from the winches, operating means connected to the first and second driving means of the first and second winch for synchronising the driving means so as to perform synchronous raising or lowering of the cables, and a first tension equalizing mechanism for equalizing tensions in the first and second cable, said first 15 tension equalizing mechanism having interconnected first cable-engaging members to engage with the first and second cable, wherein said first cable-engaging members are moveable relative to a first reference structure to be mounted on the vessel, and wherein the first tension equalizing mechanism is configured to move the first cable-engaging members under the effect of a difference in tension in the first and second cable so as to equalize said 20 tensions, said method comprising the following steps: - connecting a respective terminal end of the cables to a load connector; - connecting a load to the load connector; - lowering the cables.

25 In an embodiment, the method also includes the following steps: - measuring a displacement of the first cable-engaging members; - adjusting signals provided to the driving means by the operating means based on said measured displacement of the first cable-engaging members to correct for non-synchronous lowering of the cables.

30

Preferably, the signals provided to the driving means by the operating means are adjusted such that the displacement of the first cable-engaging members is limited to a predetermined displacement range.

35 Cables mentioned in this application may each have a length of at least 500m, preferably at least 1000m, more preferably at least 2000m, and most preferably at least 3000m. The maximum capacity of the marine load raising and lowering system may be at least 200 -7- metric tons, preferably at least 400 metric tons, more preferably at least 600 metric tons, and most preferably at least 800 metric tons.

The invention will now be described in a non-limiting way with reference to the 5 accompanying drawings, in which like parts have like reference numerals, and in which:

Fig. 1 depicts a schematic view of a marine load raising and lowering system according to an embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 2 depicts a schematic view of a tension equalizing mechanism according to an embodiment of the invention; 10 Fig. 3 depicts a schematic view of a tension equalizing mechanism according to another embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 4 depicts a schematic view of a tension equalizing mechanism according to yet another embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 5 depicts a schematic view of a tension equalizing mechanism according to a 15 further embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 6 depicts a vessel in side view provided with a marine load raising and lowering system according to another embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 7 depicts the vessel of Fig. 6 from the back;

Fig. 8 depicts a schematic view of a part of a marine load raising and lowering 20 system according to an embodiment of the invention.

Figure 1 depicts a marine load raising and lowering system 1 for use on a vessel, preferably a vessel for laying an offshore pipeline, which system comprises a first winch 2 with first driving means 3 for raising and lowering a first cable 4 from the first winch 2, and a second 25 winch 5 with second driving means 6 for raising and lowering a second cable 7 from the second winch 5. The first and second driving means 3, 6 can be synchronized by operating means 8 connected to the first and second driving means so as to perform synchronous raising and lowering of the first and second cable. The operating means are in this embodiment electronic operating means.

30

The first and second cable 4,7 will in practice be very long, but represented here short for reasons of clarity. The first and second driving means are electronically and/or mechanically connected to the respective first and second winch 2,5. The driving means may include any type of motor. The first cable 4 is suspended via a sheave 9 from the first winch 2. Similarly 35 the second cable 7 is suspended via a sheave 10 from the second winch 5.

-8-

The first and second cable 4,7 are connected to a load connector 11 with a respective terminal end 4c, 7c of the first and second cable 4,7. The load connector 11 is or can be coupled to a load 12. Due to this configuration, the cable portions 4c, 7c are substantially stationary with respect to each other, so that wear during entanglement of the cables (e.g. in 5 deepwater operations) is minimized.

Between the load connector and the sheaves 9, 10, a first tension equalizing mechanism 13 is provided through which the first and second cable 4,7 pass. The first tension equalizing mechanism is not shown in detail in Fig. 1, but said system 13 comprises interconnected first 10 cable-engaging members to engage with the first and second cable, wherein said first cable-engaging members are moveable relative to a first reference structure to be mounted on the vessel, and wherein the first tension equalizing mechanism is configured to move the first cable-engaging members under the effect of differential tensions in the first and second cable so as to equalize said tensions. This ensures that the load is suspended by both the 15 first and second cable and no overload in one of the cables occurs due to e.g. non-synchronous lowering or raising of the cables.

Possible embodiments of a first tension equalizing mechanism that can be used in a load raising and lowering system 1 of Fig. 1 are shown in Figs. 2-4 and described below.

20

Fig. 2 schematically depicts an embodiment of a first tension equalizing mechanism 13 according to the invention. Provided to the first tension equalizing mechanism are cable portions 4a and 7a of respectively the first cable 4 and the second cable 7.

25 The first tension equalizing mechanism 13 comprises interconnected first cable-engaging members in the form of sheaves 14,15. The interconnection is provided by means of beam 16.

The sheaves 14,15 engage with respective cable portions 4b,7b and are moveable relative 30 to a first reference structure 17 to be mounted on a vessel. The moveable direction of the sheaves 14,15 and the beam 16 is indicated by arrow A. The cable portions 4b, 7b are guided to and from the sheaves 14, 15 by sheaves 18. Preferably, the sheaves 18 and the first reference structure are fixed relative to the vessel. Cable portions 4c,7c are or can be connected to a load connector as shown in Fig. 1.

35

In this embodiment, the reference structure 17 acts as a guide for the beam 16.

-9-

To minimize the occupied space of the cable-engaging members and the beam 16 seen in the direction A, the sheaves 14,15 can be aligned such that their respective rotation axes substantially coincide, i.e. are aligned on a common axis. This provides a compact structure.

5 Due to the fact that the orientation of a significant portion of the cable portions 4b, 7b is nonparallel to the cable portions 4a,4c,7a,7c, movement of the sheaves 14,15 hauls in one of the cables 4 or 7 and pays out the other one of the cables 4 or 7. Movement of the sheaves 14,15 is effected by differential tensions in the first and second cable 4,7 which may result from non-synchronous driving of the first and second winch. The configuration of the first 10 tension equalizing mechanism is such that movement of the sheaves 14,15 under the effect of differential tensions in the first and second cable equalizes said tensions.

If movement of the sheaves 14,15 is caused by a non-synchronous driving of the first and second winch it is very likely that the sheaves 14,15 will continue to move to one side of the 15 first tension equalizing mechanism to constantly compensate for the non-synchronicity. As movement of the sheaves 14,15 will generally be limited, it is preferred that a displacement sensor DS in contact with the operating means is provided measuring the displacement D1 of the sheaves 14,15 relative to the first reference structure 17 to correct for non-synchronous raising or lowering of the first and second cable.

20

An advantage of the configuration of Fig. 2 is that the system may be designed symmetrical about a plane equidistant and parallel to both cable portions 4a,7a, said plane also being substantially parallel to the rotation axes of the sheaves 14,15,18.

25 Fig. 3 depicts schematically a first tension equalizing mechanism 13 according to another embodiment of the invention. The first tension equalizing mechanism comprises sheaves 18 and a first reference structure 17 which are to be mounted to a vessel. The sheaves 18 guide the respective cables 4,7 to first cable-engaging members in the form of respective sheaves 14,15. The sheaves 14,15 are both connected to a beam 16 via respective 30 connecting means 16a, 16b. Said connecting means may be a cable, rod or the like. The beam 16 is pivotable about first reference structure 17, as indicated by arrow C, so that the sheaves 14,15 are moveable in respective directions A and B. Due to this configuration, movement of sheave 14 for instance to the right occurs simultaneously, i.e. synchronously, with movement of sheave 15 to the left, i.e. cable 4 is hauled in and cable 7 is paid out.

35 Movement of the sheaves is caused by differential tensions in the first and second cable 4,7 and will equalize said tensions.

- 10-

Similar to the embodiment of Fig. 2, a displacement sensor can be provided to measure the displacement of the sheaves 14,15 to correct for non-synchronous raising and lowering of the first and second cable 4,7. This displacement sensor can be provided between the first reference structure 17 and the beam 16 to measure a rotation of said beam 16 relative to 5 the first reference structure, or can be provided between the first reference structure and the connecting means 16a, 16b or sheaves to measure a translation of said connecting means or sheaves relative to the first reference structure. It is even possible to provide the displacement sensor between the sheaves 14,15 to measure the relative mutual position of the sheaves 14,15.

10

Fig. 4 depicts schematically a first tension equalizing mechanism 13 according to yet another embodiment of the invention. The first tension equalizing mechanism is similar to the system of Fig. 3. The difference between the two embodiments is that the sheaves 14,15 are interconnected via cable portions 16a, 16b that are connected to each other via a 15 rotatable first reference structure 17 in the form of a sheave. The rotation of the first reference structure 17 is indicated by arrow 17. The sheave 17 is to be fixedly mounted to a vessel as are the sheaves 18, so that sheaves 14,15 can move in opposite directions indicated by arrows A and B and the cable portions 16a, 16b are guided by the sheave 17. An advantage of the tension equalizing mechanism of Fig. 4 over the tension equalizing 20 mechanism of Fig. 3 may be that the moving range of the sheaves 14, 15 is larger.

Fig. 5 depicts schematically a first tension equalizing mechanism 13 and a second tension equalizing mechanism 13’ for use in a marine load raising and lowering system that employs four cables 4, 4’, 7, 7’ and associated winches (not shown). Each cable 4, 7, 4’,7’ is guided 25 by sheaves 18 to a respective sheave 14,15, 14’ ,15’. The sheaves 14,15 are connected to cable portions 16a, 16b which are connected to each other via a rotatable sheave 17 which acts as a first reference structure. The sheave 17 guides the cable portions 16a, 16b thereby allowing movement of the sheaves 14, 15 to equalize tensions in said cables 4,7. Movement of the sheaves 14,15 is indicated by arrows A and B. Rotation of the sheave 17 30 is indicated by arrow C.

Similarly, the sheaves 14’ ,15’ are connected to cable portions 16a’, 16b’ which are connected to each other via a rotatable sheave 17’ which acts as a second reference structure. The sheave 17’ guides the cable portions 16a’, 16b’ thereby allowing movement of 35 the sheaves 14’, 15’ to equalize tensions in said cables 4’,7’. Movement of the sheaves 14’ and 15’ is indicated by arrows A’ and B’, and rotation of the sheave 17’ is indicated by arrow C’.

-11 -

The sheaves 17, 17’ in turn are moveable relative to a third reference structure 19,19’ in the form of sheaves which are to be mounted to a vessel. Movement of the sheaves 17,17’ is indicated by arrows D and D’. The sheaves 17,17’ are interconnected via cable 20 that runs 5 over the sheaves 19,19’. Due to this configuration, the tension in all four cables can be equalized and the four cables can be connected to a load connector with their respective terminal ends.

It will be apparent to a person skilled in the art that the number of cables can easily be 10 increased by providing more tension equalizing mechanisms and interconnecting the respective moveable reference structures. For instance, the system shown in Fig. 5 can be expanded to eight cables by doubling the configuration, making the respective third reference structures moveable relative to a fourth reference structure and interconnect the respective third reference structures.

15

Fig. 6 depicts a vessel 100 for laying a pipeline on a seabed using a reel lay pipelaying method. The vessel comprises a floatable hull 101 and at the stern of the vessel a tiltable tower 110. Said tower 110 is tiltable about pivot axis 111 by actuator 112 that can be extended or shortened in a direction F.

20

Provided on the tower 110 are a guide wheel 120, a straightener 121 and two tensioners 122. A pipeline is unwound from a reel (not shown), run over the guide wheel 120 through the straightener and tensioners to be laid in a substantial vertical orientation, e.g. as in J-lay pipelaying. The pipeline is laid through an opening 102 in the hull 101.

25

Also provided on the vessel is an abandonment and recovery (A&R) system to abandon and recover a laid pipeline. The A&R system comprises a storage winch 132 and a traction winch 131. The storage winch generally comprises the main part of a cable 134. The tension required to carry a load suspended from the cable 134 is provided by the traction winch 131. 30 In this embodiment, the traction winch 131 is provided on the tiltable tower, so that the tension generated by the traction winch does no influence tilting of the tower as much as it would if the traction winch was not provided on the tower, but directly on the hull as the storage winch. In order to synchronize movement of the traction winch and the storage winch, associated driving means and operating means 133 are provided for the storage 35 winch that are configured to provide a hold-back force in the cable 134.

- 12-

After the cable 134 passes the traction winch, the cable 134 passes a heave compensator 135, a first tension equalizing mechanism 136, and sheaves 137 and 138 at the top of the tower. By suitably driving of the traction winch, the cable 134 is able to be lowered and raised past the tensioners 122 via the moonpool 102 towards the seabed.

5

As the vessel in shown in side view, it is not clearly shown in Fig. 6 that a similar configuration is provided on the other side of the vessel, so that in total two cables can be lowered and raised. Also not shown is that the cables can be connected to a load connector. As the cables are connected to the load connector with a respective terminal end instead of 10 a equalizing sheave as done in prior art systems, a slender load connector and cable connection can be provided so that it can easily pass the tensioners 122.

Fig. 7 depicts the vessel of Fig. 6, but now seen from the back of the vessel. Shown in Fig. 7 are the hull 101, the tiltable tower 110, the tensioners 122, and the guide wheel 120, which 15 tensioners and guide wheel can be seen through openings in the tower 110.

Also shown in Fig. 7 are the symmetrically placed first and second traction winch 131, 131’, heave compensators 135, 135’, and the sheaves 137,138,137’,138’for respectively the first cable 134 and the second cable 134’.

20

Between the heave compensators 135,135’ and the sheaves 137,138,137’, 138’, the first tension equalizing mechanism 136 is provided. The first tension equalizing mechanism comprises sheaves 114,115 of which only one sheave can be seen, as the rotation axes of the sheaves are aligned on a common axis. The cables 134, 134’ are guided to and from the 25 sheaves 114,115 by sheaves 118 which have been mounted to the tower 110. The sheaves 114 and 115 are interconnected and moveable in a direction A relative to a first reference structure 117 mounted to the tower under the effect of differential tensions in the cables 134,134’ so as to equalize said tensions.

30 The embodiment of Fig. 7 is therefore a more practical implementation of the tension equalizing mechanism according to Fig. 2.

Shown at the top of the tower, the sheaves 138,138’ are placed close next to each other, so that the cables 134,134’ from there on are also close together. This close configuration is 35 advantageous for passing the tensioners, but will increase the chance of entanglement of the cables during lowering and raising of the cables at relatively great depth. However, as - 13- the cables 134,134’ have minimal movement relative to each other, wear is minimized and the close configuration is made possible.

An advantage of the embodiment according to Fig. 6 and 7 is that the first and second cable 5 when passing sheaves of e.g. the first tension equalizing mechanism are always bent in the same direction.

Fig. 8 depicts a part of a marine load raising and lowering system according to another embodiment of the invention. Schematically shown are a load connector 11, a vessel 100 10 and a first tension equalizing mechanism . Fig. 8 shows an alternative way of connecting a first cable 4 and a second cable 7 to the load connector 11 and vessel 100 which falls within the scope of the invention.

The first and second cable 4,7 extend from the first tension equalizing mechanism 13 15 towards the load connector 11. The load connector 11 is provided with respective sheaves 11a directing the first and second cable 4,7 back towards the vessel 100. When reaching the vessel, the first and second cable are directed back towards the load connector by respective sheaves 100a which are mounted to the vessel 100. After reaching the load connector 11, the terminal ends 4c, 7c of the first and second cable are connected to the 20 load connector 11. An advantage of this embodiment is that the load connector is supported by six cable portions in total, so that the thickness of the first and second cable can be reduced or the hoisting capacity of the load connector can be increased.

Claims (16)

  1. A cargo lifting and lowering system for use at sea on a vessel, preferably a pipeline laying vessel, the system comprising: i. a first winch with first drive means for lifting or lowering a first cable from the first winch; ii. a second winch with second drive means for lifting or lowering a second cable from the second winch; iii. driving means connected to the first and second drive means of respectively the first and second winch for synchronizing the drive means so that a synchronous lifting or lowering of the first and second cable can be carried out; iv. a charge coupler; characterized in that the first and second cable are both connected to the charge coupler with a respective end of the first and second cable, and that the system further comprises a first voltage equalizing mechanism adapted to equalize the voltage in the first and second second cables, wherein the first voltage equalizing mechanism has interconnected first cable coupling elements for coupling to the first and second cable, wherein the first cable coupling elements are movable relative to a first reference structure mounted on the vessel, and wherein the first voltage equalizing mechanism is arranged to moving the first cable coupling elements through a voltage difference in the first and second cable so that the voltages are assimilated.
  2. A system according to claim 1, wherein the first cable coupling elements comprise a first cable disc for coupling with the first cable and a second cable disc for coupling with the second cable.
  3. 3. System as claimed in claim 2, wherein the first and second cable disc 30 are arranged such that their rotational axes are aligned on a common axis.
  4. 4. System as claimed in one or more of the foregoing claims, comprising cable discs upstream and downstream of the first voltage equalizing mechanism for guiding the first and second cable from and to the first cable coupling elements.
  5. System as claimed in one or more of the foregoing claims, comprising a hoisting compensator adapted to catch up or allow the first and second cables to be compensated for unwanted vessel movements. - 15-
  6. 6. System as claimed in one or more of the foregoing claims, wherein each of the first and second winch is a traction winch which cooperates with a respective storage winch that is driven by associated control means which are adapted to provide a retaining force in the first and second cable 5 for the respective traction winch.
  7. The system of claim 6, wherein a restraining force sensor is provided that communicates with the control means of the storage winches to synchronize the movement of the storage winches with the respective first and second winches.
  8. System as claimed in one or more of the foregoing claims, wherein a displacement sensor is provided which is connected to the control means and which measures the displacement of the first cable coupling elements to correct for non-synchronous lifting or lowering of the first and second cable .
  9. 9. System as claimed in one or more of the foregoing claims, wherein the cable coupling elements are mutually connected by a connecting cable.
  10. The system of claim 9, wherein the first reference structure is a cable disk and the connecting cable runs over the cable disk.
  11. 11. System as claimed in one or more of the foregoing claims, comprising: 20. a third winch with third drive means for lifting or lowering a third cable from the third winch; - a fourth winch with fourth drive means for lifting or lowering a fourth cable from the fourth winch; - a second voltage equalizing mechanism with mutually connected second cable coupling elements for coupling to the third and fourth cable, wherein the second cable coupling elements are movable relative to a second reference structure which is mounted on the vessel, and wherein the second voltage equalizing mechanism is arranged around the second cable coupling elements by moving a voltage difference in the third and fourth cable so that the voltages are equated, and wherein the third and fourth cable are both connected to the charge coupler with a respective end of the first and second cable, and wherein the first and second reference structures of the first and second voltage equalization mechanisms are interconnected, the first and second reference structures being movable relative to a third reference structure mounted on the vessel to control the voltages in the first, second, third and fourth cable g to be stated. -16-
  12. The system of claim 11, wherein the first and second reference structures are interconnected by a connecting cable.
  13. A system according to any one or more of the preceding claims, wherein the load lifting and lowering system acts as a trailing and retrieval system.
  14. A method for lowering a load from a vessel into the water, for example to the seabed, preferably from a vessel for laying a sea pipeline, using a load lifting and lowering system for the first and second sea comprising winches with respective first and second drive means for lifting and lowering first and second cables from the winches, drive means connected to the first and second drive means for synchronizing the drive means so that a synchronous lifting or lowering of the cables can be performed, and a first voltage equalizing mechanism for equalizing the voltages in the first and second cable, the first voltage equalizing mechanism 15 having interconnected first cable coupling elements for coupling to the first and second cable, the first cable coupling elements being movable relative to a first reference structure ur mounted on the vessel, and wherein the first voltage equalizing mechanism is arranged to move the first cable coupling elements through a voltage difference in the first and second cable to equalize the voltages, the method comprising the steps of: connecting a respective end of the cables to a charge coupler; - connecting a load to the charge coupler; 25. lowering the cables.
  15. Method according to claim 14, comprising the steps of: - measuring a displacement of the first cable coupling elements; - adjusting signals supplied to the drive means by the control means based on the measured displacement of the first cable coupling elements to correct for non-synchronous lowering of the cables.
  16. 16. Method as claimed in claim 14, wherein the signals supplied to the drive means are adapted by the control means such that the displacement of the first cable coupling elements is limited to a predetermined displacement range.
NL2004801A 2010-06-02 2010-06-02 Marine load raising and lowering system. NL2004801C2 (en)

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NL2004801A NL2004801C2 (en) 2010-06-02 2010-06-02 Marine load raising and lowering system.
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Applications Claiming Priority (6)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
NL2004801A NL2004801C2 (en) 2010-06-02 2010-06-02 Marine load raising and lowering system.
US13/701,135 US9103471B2 (en) 2010-06-02 2011-05-24 Marine load raising and lowering system
CN201180026966.7A CN102917945B (en) 2010-06-02 2011-05-24 Marine tote jacking system
PCT/NL2011/050351 WO2011152711A1 (en) 2010-06-02 2011-05-24 Marine load raising and lowering system
EP11722594.6A EP2576331B1 (en) 2010-06-02 2011-05-24 Marine load raising and lowering system
BR112012030605A BR112012030605A2 (en) 2010-06-02 2011-05-24 marine cargo lifting or lowering system for use on a vessel, and method for lowering a cargo from a vessel

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Cited By (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO2011159159A1 (en) 2010-06-17 2011-12-22 Itrec B.V. Double drum traction winch

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US3265360A (en) * 1963-06-05 1966-08-09 Tax Johann Tower crane with auxiliary hoist
DE1916644A1 (en) * 1969-04-01 1970-11-05 Krupp Gmbh Safety system for casting ladle crane - has transverse and compensation levers for the rope system
WO2006013053A1 (en) * 2004-08-02 2006-02-09 Terex-Demag Gmbh & Co. Kg Hoisting-cable drive comprising a single bottom-hook block and two winches
EP1850043A2 (en) * 2006-04-19 2007-10-31 Allseas Group S.A. Abandonment and recovery system and method, and cable connector
WO2009002142A1 (en) * 2007-06-22 2008-12-31 Itrec B.V. Marine load raising and lowering system

Patent Citations (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3265360A (en) * 1963-06-05 1966-08-09 Tax Johann Tower crane with auxiliary hoist
DE1916644A1 (en) * 1969-04-01 1970-11-05 Krupp Gmbh Safety system for casting ladle crane - has transverse and compensation levers for the rope system
WO2006013053A1 (en) * 2004-08-02 2006-02-09 Terex-Demag Gmbh & Co. Kg Hoisting-cable drive comprising a single bottom-hook block and two winches
EP1850043A2 (en) * 2006-04-19 2007-10-31 Allseas Group S.A. Abandonment and recovery system and method, and cable connector
WO2009002142A1 (en) * 2007-06-22 2008-12-31 Itrec B.V. Marine load raising and lowering system

Cited By (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO2011159159A1 (en) 2010-06-17 2011-12-22 Itrec B.V. Double drum traction winch

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