Skip to Main Content
At terminals exposed to waves, the first-order wave-induced vessel motions can cause very high mooring line load ranges and peak tensions which can result in excessive mooring line fatigue and breakouts. These effects can be alleviated by proper selection of fiber rope materials and lengths for mooring lines and tails. Fiber rope stiffness characteristics are complex. The broken-in rope stiffness is suitable for calculating mooring line tensions with constant wind and current forces. But wave-induced vessel motions can cause cyclic tensioning and increase the peak mooring line tension. While the rope is cycling, it becomes stiffer. The cycling stiffness of the rope is greater than its brokenin stiffness. This cycling stiffness should be used when calculating the peak mooring line tensions caused by wave-induced vessel motions. This paper describes the complex axial stiffness behavior of synthetic fiber ropes. It explains how rope stiffness increases during cycling. It demonstrates how the rope cycling stiffness can significantly increase peak mooring line tensions in wave environments. Recorded mooring line load data was available from an exposed terminal where both nylon and polyester tails are compared with loads calculated by the Optimoor Seakeeping mooring analysis computer program. When the rope cycling stiffness was used instead of its broken-in stiffness, good agreement was achieved between the measured and the calculated peak wavemotion-induced mooring loads. This paper will be of interest to fiber rope engineers, mooring operators and mooring system designers.