As a part of the national transport plan, the Norwegian Government has granted a billion NKK towards the establishment of the world’s largest ship tunnel in the Norwegian Stad waters.

Kystverket wanted to perform a maneuvering simulation study to evaluate whether the design and the overall project was feasible . These evaluations would form the basis for further quality assurance and project assessment by the Norwegian government.  

We assisted Kystverket by assessing the safety and efficiency of the tunnel. We created a digital model of the tunnel and ships to test the maneuvering conditions when entering and departing the tunnel in our  ship bridge simulator.

The tunnel will facilitate a new high speed craft route from Bergen to Ålesund, which is not possible today due to harsh weather conditions:

“It will also make it safer and easier for commercial traffic to sail past the Stad peninsula. Normally it takes about two hours to sail through Stad, but during harsh weather, vessels must either navigate with low speeds or wait for better weather conditions. It can take more than ten hours to wait for the weather to clear up. The long wait means that some freight ships carrying live fish could end up with low quality goods”, says Terje Andreassen, Project manager at Kystverket.

The tunnel will provide a shield making it possible to sail through sheltered waters, hereby providing a safer area to sail through regardless of the weather.

Controlling the traffic

Because the tunnel will be surrounded by relatively narrow inlets on both sides, one of the biggest hurdles will be controlling the traffic capacity:

“Our traffic regulation studies show that it is most efficient to send a convoy of ships (maximum five) in one direction and then afterwards from the other direction. Some ships like high speed crafts will need to pass more often and will be given specific time slots”
, says Jens Erik Bay, Project Manager at the Department of Simulation, Training and Ports at FORCE Technology. 

The tunnel will actually be wide enough to fit more than one small boat at a time in a row, which is also necessary in order to allow a sufficient traffic flow. However it is important to avoid ships with dangerous cargo inside the tunnel at the same time as other vessels in case accidents should occur. In this case, a longer safety distance is recommended. The idea is to use a traffic light to regulate the traffic. 

On top of the simulations, we will also perform CFD calculations of a ferry and a containership sailing through the tunnel. The objective is to investigate the hydrodynamic forces and squat of the ships due to e.g. position and speed.

Collaborating throughout the process

In June 2016, Kystverket visited FORCE Technology along with their captains and pilots. The purpose of the visit was to evaluate the approach of the tunnel by sailing the models of two of the ships that will pass through the tunnel; a 150-metre long freight ship and the cruise ship MS “Midnatsol”. 

The captain who normally sails MS ”Midnatsol” sailed a model of his vessel in the tunnel. This provided us with a possibility to confirm the design of the tunnel: 

“When the captains test the tunnel we obtain indications of safe distances between the ships passing the tunnel at once, necessary navigation and manoeuvring tools, weather limitations and reduced visibility from fog and lack of daylight,“ Jens explains.

Kystverket has been very content with the simulations:” We got a very good outcome from the visit. We conducted many trial passages with different ships and tried sailing in a convoy through the tunnel. We discovered a few small adjustments; the angle of the eastern entrance way needed to be softened making it easier for the vessels to enter the tunnel. FORCE technology will also continue working on a way to bring down the time it takes a convoy of five ships to sail through the tunnel.” says Terje.

Read more about the project here

m/S Midnatssol, stad ship tunnel, Kystverket, simulator studies, FORCE Technology, Norweigan coastal administration,
M/S Midnatsol sailing into the tunnel.
Photo credit: Kystverket
Stad ship tunnel, simulation, FORCE Technology, , Norweigan Coastal administration,
Captain and Pilot from Kystverket sailing through the simulated tunnel
Photo credit: Kystverket