Partial safety factors for berthing velocity and loads on marine structures

Alfred Roubos, Dirk Jan Peters, Leon Groenewegen, R. Steenbergen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
245 Downloads (Pure)


Design methods for marine structures have evolved into load and resistance factor design, however existing partial safety factors related to berthing velocity and loads have not been verified and validated by measurement campaigns. In this study, field observations of modern seagoing vessels berthing in Bremerhaven, Rotterdam and Wilhelmshaven were used to evaluate partial safety factors for berthing energy and berthing impact loads. Various types of vessels and navigation conditions were statistically examined. The results show that characteristic values of berthing velocity with a return period of 50 years are in line with design recommendations in literature. Design values of berthing velocity are sensitive to the number of berthing operations during the lifetime of a marine structure. Typical partial safety factors for sheltered and exposed navigation conditions were derived by extrapolating distribution fits and applying extreme value theory. Differences in structural response due to soil stiffness and the type of berthing system installed influence partial safety factors for berthing impact loads. The probability of an uncontrolled berthing event was higher for exposed navigation conditions (strong tidal currents). In these circumstances, higher partial safety factors for berthing velocity should be considered in the design of marine structures. When berthing aid systems are used, the probability of extreme berthing velocities is lower, resulting in lower partial safety factors. The key findings of this study could be beneficial for the structural design of new and lifetime extension of existing marine structures.

The results from this paper are included in the international draft directive“Berthing velocities and fender design” van PIANC WG145
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-91
JournalMarine Structures
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Partial safety factor
  • Berthing velocity
  • Berthing energy
  • Berthing impact
  • Berthing load
  • Marine structures


Dive into the research topics of 'Partial safety factors for berthing velocity and loads on marine structures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • Flexible Dolphins

    Roubos, A., 30 Jun 2018, 126 p. (Handboeken voor haveninfrastructuur.)

    Research output: Book/ReportBookProfessional

Cite this