Decay Of Bow Thruster Induced Near-Bed Flow Velocities At A Vertical Quay Wall: A Field Measurement


  • JIM W.T. TUKKER Boskalis, The Netherlands
  • MICHEL RUIJTER Rijkswaterstaat, The Netherlands
  • CHARLOTTE V.A. VAN DER VORM-HOEK Rijkswaterstaat, The Netherlands
  • BAS HOFLAND Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands



Bow thruster, Propeller jet, Bed protection, Quay wall, Turbulence


During berthing operations vessels use bow thruster(s) to improve their manoeuvrability, making them less dependent on the assistance of tugboats. While manoeuvring, the transversal bow thruster jet can reflect on the quay wall and partially be directed towards the bed. At the intersection between the quay wall and the bed, the jet reflects again leading to a highly turbulent and complex flow field (Figure 1). When the bed is left unprotected scour may occur, which can eventually lead to instability of the quay wall (Roubos et al., 2014).

Over the years, the shipping industry has been developing continuously, characterized primarily by the upscaling in size of inland- and sea-going vessels (OECD, 2015; Weenen et al., 2020; Looye, 2021). As a result, vessels have larger draughts, more power and larger thruster diameters leading to higher hydraulic loads on quay walls and bed protections of berthing facilities (Roubos & Verhagen, 2007). To complicate the matter even more, the jet from a transversal bow thruster is confined by the hull of the vessel, the quay wall and the bed. Leading to a complex flow field of the reflected jet and an unknown decay in near-bed flow velocities. Resulting in uncertainties in the design of bed protections, especially in the required width.




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