Interference between trawl gears and subsea pipelines is an important issue. A special case called hooking, defined as the situation when the trawl gear gets “stuck” under the pipeline, should be a rarely occurring situation. In this case, however, the warp line tension could be high as its breaking strength. This may be detrimental with respect to both fishing vessel safety and pipeline integrity. This calls for a better understanding of the hooking phenomenon.

The goal of this study is to develop a proper numerical model to describe the hooking event. The proposed model is based on the finite element method. A special penalty-based contact element that includes the friction effect is utilized to deal with the trawl board and pipeline interaction. The trawl board and seabed (span shoulder) contact is also accounted for in order to simulate the hooking event. To validate the proposed model, numerical simulation results are compared with previous model test results. A rectangular type trawl board was selected as the target object. The pull-over cases with different span height were firstly tested and compared. Then, the hooking event set-ups were modeled.

Based on the model tests, there are two most likely scenarios for hooking: 1) a de-stabilized trawl board with small span height; 2) small crossing angle with large span height. The above two cases were both tested by the proposed model. In the first case, the trawl board is towed flat on the seabed. Permanent hooking was successfully obtained in the simulation. Then, two cases with small crossing angle were studied. Hooking event was reproduced in the case of a 20 degree crossing angle by introducing a disturbance on the trawl board. It shows that the proposed model could reproduce the hooking event, provided that the trawl board motion similar to the model test could be obtained. This gives a good basis for further studies.

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