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The safety of a ship which is damaged below the waterline will depend on the way water floods into the internal compartments. The water will cause the ship to take on an angle of heel and trim which will further affect the flooding into the compartments. The ship’s equilibrium position in calm water can be predicted using hydrostatic theory, however at present it is difficult to predict the transient behaviour between the initial upright position of the ship and its final equilibrium. In some cases, the transient motion may cause a capsize prior to a possible equilibrium position being reached.
This paper describes an investigation of this phenomenon using a model of a warship with simplified, typical internal geometry. With the model initially stationary, a rapid damage event was generated, and the global motions measured, along with the water levels in some of the internal compartments, as functions of time. Immediately after the damage occurred the model rolled to starboard (towards the damage). It then rolled to port (away from the damage) before eventually returning to starboard and settling at its equilibrium value. In all the tests conducted the equilibrium heel angle was less than that reached during the initial roll to starboard. This implies that the roll damping, and the way in which the water floods into the model immediately following the damage, could both have a very important influence on the likelihood of survival.