(19)
(11)EP 2 778 042 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
05.06.2019 Bulletin 2019/23

(21)Application number: 13158774.3

(22)Date of filing:  12.03.2013
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B63B 27/24  (2006.01)
B63B 22/02  (2006.01)
B63B 21/50  (2006.01)
F16L 27/08  (2006.01)

(54)

Assembly for transferring fluids between a vessel and a turret structure mounted in said vessel

Anordnung zur Übertragung von Flüssigkeiten zwischen einem Behälter und einer im besagten Behälter montierten Revolverkopfstruktur

Ensemble permettant de transférer des fluides entre un récipient et une structure en tourelle montée dans ledit récipient


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(43)Date of publication of application:
17.09.2014 Bulletin 2014/38

(73)Proprietor: Bluewater Energy Services B.V.
2132 HR Hoofddorp (NL)

(72)Inventor:
  • Gooijer, Lambert Erik
    1182 BN Amstelveen (NL)

(74)Representative: De Vries & Metman 
Overschiestraat 180
1062 XK Amsterdam
1062 XK Amsterdam (NL)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 0 921 062
WO-A1-99/65762
US-A- 5 823 837
WO-A1-94/18065
WO-A1-03/064244
US-A1- 2004 244 986
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] The invention relates to a vessel as stated in the preamble of claim 1. Such a vessel is known from WO-A-03/064244.

    [0002] It is noted that the indication "vessel" also may refer to parts or to a structure fixed to the vessel.

    [0003] It is known in the offshore industry (and especially the production of fluids such as oil or gas) to use vessels comprising a turret structure mounted in a moon pool for a rotation around a substantially vertical turret axis. The turret structure (or a disconnectable buoy connected to a lower part thereof) may be moored to the seabed by mooring lines and connects risers through which the fluid is delivered to a fluid inlet in the geostationary part of the swivel, which typically is mounted on top of the turret structure or on top of a so-called turntable which is based on and forms part of the turret structure. The fluid is transferred from the rotating part of the swivel to appropriate equipment on board of the vessel through fluid piping connecting the swivel fluid outlet with the vessel (for example a so-called turret access structure, TAS). It is noted that the fluids can be transferred in two directions, both from the risers to the vessel and vice versa. For clarity only the direction towards the vessel is mentioned here, but it should be realised that the indications "inlet" and "outlet" are interchangeable.

    [0004] The turret structure, including its turntable, the swivel as well as the vessel (for example the TAS) often are subject to considerable loads tending to deform said components. The loads can originate from, among others, gravity, motions, accelerations, vessel deformations, temperature differences, pressure, mooring forces, riser forces, waves, current and wind. Because these components generally have a different stiffness and will be subjected to different loads, their deformations will be different causing relative displacements between these components.

    [0005] The relative deformations between the rotating part of the swivel and the vessel (or TAS) deform the fluid piping between them, which causes stresses on the swivel and its outlets. These stresses can be low when the piping is flexible and it thus easily conforms to the relative deformations, but can also be very high when the piping is substantially rigid, for example for high pressure piping with a large diameter. These stresses can interfere with the operation of the swivel, for example by damaging it or causing its seals to leak.

    [0006] Known practice for reducing the mentioned stresses is to increase the flexibility of the fluid piping (for example by allowing multiple bends in the fluid piping with long piping sections between successive bends), together with anchor points for the fluid piping sufficiently far away from the swivel. However, adding such fluid piping lengths is expensive and increases the overall weight acting on top of the vessel or TAS, further increasing the detrimental deformation thereof with resulting increase of the relative deformation between the vessel (or TAS) and the swivel.

    [0007] Another known practice for reducing these stresses is to increase the stiffness of the components (such as the turret structure and the TAS) in order to reduce their (relative) deformations. This, however, involves the use of extra material (such as steel) with an associated increase of cost and weight.

    [0008] The effectiveness of the above known stress reduction methods decreases when the structures (TAS, vessel, turret, swivel etc) increase in size. Larger structures will undergo larger relative deformations, while more steel is required to stiffen them and/or more piping bends and lengths are needed to accommodate the relative deformations. This becomes prohibitive in terms of the required amount of constructive material (steel, piping), mass and cost.

    [0009] In view of the above it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved vessel of the type referred to above.

    [0010] Thus, in accordance with the present invention the vessel is characterized as set forth in claim 1.

    [0011] The part of the turret structure connected to the vessel by the bridge member for example may be the rotating parts of the swivel. The bridge member may support the fluid piping in a manner allowing a relative displacement between the bridge member and the fluid piping.

    [0012] It is noted that "locked to the rotation of the vessel" does not exclude the possibility of a (moderate) limited relative rotation between said part of the turret structure and the vessel (the allowable magnitude of which may depend from, among others, the flexibility of the fluid piping).

    [0013] As a result of the provision of such a bridge member a substantially fixed anchor point is provided on the bridge member for the flexible fluid path between the swivel and the vessel (such as a TAS) which can take the piping loads from the relative deformations between components without the need for increasing the stiffness of such components and without adding extra lengths of fluid piping or extra bends, such that a minimal functional piping layout is sufficient.

    [0014] In a preferred embodiment of the vessel the bridge member is provided with at least one hinge member for allowing said relative displacement between said part of the turret structure and the vessel or the structure fixed to the vessel. For example, such a hinge member may be positioned at an end of the bridge member connecting to said part of the turret structure or connecting to the vessel or the structure fixed to the vessel, or the at least one hinge member may be positioned intermediate two opposite ends of the bridge member. The use of such a hinge member provides the required flexibility of the bridge member which otherwise may be constructed as a rigid part, while the bridge member nevertheless maintains its ability for an effective support of the fluid piping to take away the loads from the fluid piping on the said swivel and its outlets.

    [0015] It is possible that the hinge member is defined by a classic hinge (for example comprising two parts connected by a hinge axis) or by a weakened part of the bridge simulating a hinge (for example specially oriented plating allowing a relative movement between parts connected thereto).

    [0016] In another embodiment the bridge member is sufficiently long for achieving its flexibility for allowing said relative displacement between said part of the turret structure and the vessel or the structure fixed to the vessel without the need for hinge members. Of course, such an embodiment also may be combined with the use of hinge members, if required.

    [0017] In another embodiment of the vessel according to the present invention, said part of the turret structure (to which the bridge member is connected) is a swivel tower mounted around the swivel and engaging the remainder of the turret structure by means of a swivel tower bearing, such that the swivel tower does not follow a rotation of the remainder of the turret structure around the turret axis. In this embodiment the swivel tower also could be seen as a part of the bridge member. The swivel tower bearing supports the swivel tower in all directions but the swivel tower maintains its orientation with respect to the vessel. Because, now, both the swivel tower and swivel are mounted on the turret structure, relative deformations between the swivel fluid outlet and the swivel tower are minimised (and therefore also relative deformations between the swivel and the bridge member which is connected to the swivel tower).

    [0018] This swivel tower also serves to provide access to the swivel for maintenance, inspection etc.

    [0019] In one embodiment the bridge member engages the swivel tower in such a manner that a rotation of the swivel tower around the turret axis is locked to the rotation of the vessel.

    [0020] As an alternative or additionally, the swivel tower is connected to the vessel by a torsion lock mechanism which substantially ensures that the swivel tower and the vessel rotate in unison. Thus, such a torsion lock mechanism may prohibit a rotation of the swivel tower around the turret axis relative to the vessel. Said torsion lock mechanism may be passive or active.

    [0021] Because, as explained above, the relative deformations between the swivel fluid outlet and the swivel tower are minimised, it is possible that the fluid piping is attached to the swivel tower in a stationary (substantially rigid) manner without causing substantial piping loads on the said swivel and its outlets. For example fluid piping support points may be placed on the swivel tower to relieve deformation loads (acting in the fluid piping and caused by the relative displacements between components, as elucidated before) on the swivel.

    [0022] In case the relative deformations between the swivel fluid outlet and the swivel tower are still significant, for example when their axes of rotations are slightly misaligned, a pipe loop can be placed in or around the swivel tower. This loop has sufficient flexibility to accommodate their relative deformations without introducing unacceptable stresses on the swivel.

    [0023] The swivel tower bearing may be located above, below or substantially at the level of a fluid inlet of the swivel. Such a fluid inlet also is referred to as an inlet collector.

    [0024] In yet another embodiment of the vessel using a swivel tower, the bridge member or part thereof is capable of a rotation around a vertical axis. In such an embodiment the rotation of the swivel tower is substantially locked to the rotation of the vessel, albeit to a lesser degree than in the other embodiments. This allows the use of a bridge member with improved characteristics and simplified constructive layout.

    [0025] For example, the bridge member may be connected to said structure fixed to the vessel through a universal joint, such as for example a ball joint, allowing rotations but preventing translations of the bridge member relative to said structure fixed to the vessel. The bridge member then may be rather stiff providing a good support for the fluid piping whilst the said structure can be constructed as a less complicated frame which is not loaded by torsion forces. As an alternative the bridge member itself may comprise such a universal joint between two adjacent bridge member parts, of which a first one is directly connected to the vessel and the second one is connected to the respective part of the turret structure (for example the swivel tower).

    [0026] In an embodiment the swivel tower bearing is positioned on a swivel base part, which may be enlarged. Thus there may be provided a swivel base part with a diameter which is larger than the diameter of the remainder of the swivel, wherein the swivel tower bearing is positioned on said swivel base part. This increases the stability of the swivel tower (with respect to the swivel) and further reduces deformations between the swivel and the swivel tower.

    [0027] It is also possible to conceive embodiments in which no swivel tower is present, but in which said part of the turret structure (to which the bridge member is connected) is defined by the rotating part(s) of the swivel.

    [0028] Again, in such an embodiment it is conceivable that the bridge member engages the rotating parts of the swivel in such a manner that their rotation around the turret axis is substantially locked to the rotation of the vessel (and thus they rotate in unison with the vessel), or (additionally or not) that the rotating parts of the swivel are connected to the vessel by a torsion lock mechanism.

    [0029] Hereinafter the invention will be elucidated while referring to the drawing, in which:

    Figure 1 schematically shows a state of the art vessel;

    Figure 2 schematically shows a first embodiment of the vessel according to the present invention;

    Figure 3 shows a cross-section according to A-A in figure 2;

    Figure 4 schematically shows a second embodiment of the vessel according to the present invention;

    Figure 5 schematically shows a third embodiment of the vessel according to the present invention;

    Figure 6 shows a cross-section according to B-B in figure 5;

    Figure 7 schematically shows a fourth embodiment of the vessel according to the present invention;

    Figure 8 shows a cross-section according to C_C in figure 7;

    Figure 9 schematically shows a fifth embodiment of the vessel according to the present invention;

    Figure 10 shows a cross-section according to D_D in figure 9, and

    Figure 11 shows a cross-section according to E_E in figure 9.



    [0030] Firstly referring to figure 1, a state of the art vessel is illustrated with an assembly for transferring fluids between said vessel 1 and a turret structure 2 mounted in said vessel for a rotation around a substantially vertical turret axis 3. In its upper part the turret structure 2 comprises a swivel 4 having at least one fluid outlet 5 which is connected to one end of a fluid piping 6 of which the second end is connected to the vessel 1 or to a structure 7 (for example a so-called turret access structure TAS) fixed to the vessel.

    [0031] The turret structure 2 is mounted in a moonpool 8 by means of a turret bearing 9 and is moored to the seabed by mooring lines 10. Risers 11 extend from the seabed through the turret structure and are connected to a lower part (swivel fluid inlet, not shown in detail) of the swivel 4, whether or not through a process manifold.

    [0032] The turret structure 2 allows the vessel to weathervane around the turret structure, as is generally known. The lower part of the turret structure 2 may be embodied as a disconnectable buoy part, as is generally known.

    [0033] As will appear from the following description of embodiments of the vessel according to the invention while referring to figures 2-11, such a vessel provides an assembly which further comprises a flexible bridge member 12 connecting a part of the turret structure 2 with the vessel 1 or a structure 7 fixed to the vessel. The assembly is constructed in such a way that a rotation of said part of the turret structure 2 around the turret axis 3 is substantially locked to the rotation of the vessel while a relative displacement between said part of the turret structure and the vessel or the structure fixed to the vessel is allowed, and wherein said bridge member 12 supports the fluid piping 6 in a manner allowing a relative displacement between the bridge member and the fluid piping.

    [0034] Firstly referring to figure 2, a bridge member 12 is shown comprising a vertical part 13 mounted to the vessel 1 through a hinge member 14 for allowing said relative displacement between said part of the turret structure 2 (a swivel tower 17 as will appear later) and the vessel 1. The bridge member further comprises a horizontal part 15 which connects the vertical part 13 with said part of the turret structure. As seen in figure 3, the horizontal part 15 may be constructed from a number of interconnected bars 15', of which (in the illustrated embodiment) a central bar supports the fluid piping 6, preferably in a manner (guide 21) allowing a relative displacement between said bar 15' and the fluid piping 6. Likewise the vertical part 13 will support the fluid piping 6 in a corresponding manner (guide 22).

    [0035] Although not shown, the hinge member 14 also may be positioned intermediate the vertical and horizontal parts 13, 15, respectively, of the bridge member 12 or at the opposite end thereof connecting to the turret structure 2. Multiple hinge members may be provided too at different locations. Each hinge member 14 may be defined by a classic hinge (as illustrated) or by a weakened part (of the bridge member or a component connected therewith) simulating a hinge (for example a deformable plate 16 between the vertical and horizontal bridge member parts 13 and 15).

    [0036] As illustrated in figure 2, said part of the turret structure 2 to which the bridge member 12 connects, is a swivel tower 17 mounted around the swivel 4 and engaging the remainder of the turret structure 2 by means of a swivel tower bearing 18. The swivel 4 may comprises a swivel base part 34 with a diameter which is larger than the diameter of the remainder of the swivel, wherein the swivel tower bearing 18 is positioned on said swivel base part. The swivel tower bearing typically may be a roller type or sliding type bearing.

    [0037] The bridge member 12, in one embodiment, engages the swivel tower 17 in such a manner that rotation of the swivel tower around the turret axis 3 is substantially locked to the rotation of the vessel. As a result the swivel tower 17 does not (or only in a very limited sense) follow a rotation of the remainder of the turret structure 2 around the turret axis 3.

    [0038] In the illustrated embodiment the fluid piping 6 is attached to the swivel tower 17 in a stationary manner, as illustrated by at least one support member 19. The position of such a support member, however, may vary and for example may be located on the bridge member 12. Further, such a support member also may provide a support allowing a moderate movement of the fluid piping 6. Correspondingly, the fluid piping may be attached to the vessel 1 (support member 20).

    [0039] Figure 3 further illustrates swivel driver arms 35 connecting part of the swivel to the swivel tower.

    [0040] Figure 4 illustrates a second embodiment. The bridge member 12 now is supported by a structure 23 fixed to the vessel (for example a module), but otherwise closely resembles the bridge member of the previous embodiment. However, in this embodiment the swivel tower 17 is connected to the vessel 1 (or an auxiliary structure 1' thereof) by a torsion lock mechanism 33 (active or passive) for prohibiting a rotation of the swivel tower 17 around the turret axis 3. Thus, in this embodiment the bridge member 12 is not required to provide such a prevention of a rotation of the swivel tower 17 (but may or may not carry out such a function).

    [0041] Figures 5 and 6 show an embodiment of the vessel with an assembly in which the bridge member 12 has a different layout. It comprises a horizontal part 24 (in this embodiment comprising bars 24') connecting with its one end to the swivel tower 17 and provided at its other end with a hinge mechanism 25 through which it is connected to a structure 27.

    [0042] It is noted that in this embodiment it is also possible to say that the bridge member 12 comprises said horizontal part 24 and a vertical part 27 fixed to the vessel, with the hinge mechanism 25 in between said parts. This is merely a matter of definition.

    [0043] Figures 7 and 8 illustrate an embodiment in which there is no swivel tower, but in which the rotating parts of swivel 4 defines said part of the turret structure 2 to which the bridge member 12 is connected. In this embodiment the bridge member 12 engages the rotating parts of the swivel 4 in such a manner that their rotation is substantially locked to the rotation of the vessel. There actually are two bridge members 12 illustrated one above the other, each connected to the swivel 4 and comprising a structure 28, in a manner substantially corresponding to the previous embodiment and thus not elucidated here. It is noted, however, that such multiple bridge members 12 (of which there also may be provided only one or more than two, depending on the amount of fluid piping 6) may support a multitude of fluid piping 6 and may be separated (as shown) or combined (for example stacked one on top of the other). The fluid piping 6 may be connected to the bridge member 12 using support members 29, whereas guides 30 allow a relative movement between the structure 28 (which is considered to be a part of the bridge member 12) and the piping 6.

    [0044] Figures 9-11, finally, illustrate an embodiment of the vessel with an assembly according to the present invention, wherein a bridge member 12 is capable of a rotation around a vertical axis 26 defined by a structure 30 which is fixed to the vessel 1. The rotation may occur through a universal joint, such as for example a ball joint, allowing more rotations than only around a vertical axis 26 but preventing translations of the bridge member 12 relative to said structure 30 which is fixed to the vessel 1. As a result the bridge member 12 may be carried out relatively stiff, whereas the structure 30 will be free from swivel tower induced torsion loads and thus may be constructed less heavy.

    [0045] It is noted that the bridge member in this embodiment also may be considered comprising the illustrated horizontal part 12 and the structure 30, with interposed universal joint.

    [0046] In this embodiment it is also possible to omit the swivel tower 17, or to connect the swivel tower 17 to the vessel by a torsion lock mechanism 33 (see figure 4) in order to lock the rotation of the rotating parts of the swivel 4 to the rotation of the vessel 1 around the turret axis 3.

    [0047] The invention is not limited to the embodiments described above which may be varied widely within the scope of the invention as defined by the appending claims.


    Claims

    1. Vessel (1) comprising an assembly for transferring fluids between said vessel (1) and a turret structure (2) mounted in said vessel for a rotation around a substantially vertical turret axis (3), wherein said turret structure (2) comprises a swivel (4) having at least one fluid path and wherein the fluid path is connected with one end of a fluid piping (6) of which the second end is connected to the vessel, wherein the assembly further comprises a bridge member (12) connecting a part of the turret structure (2) with the vessel (1), wherein a rotation of said part of the turret structure around the turret axis (3) is substantially locked to the rotation of the vessel, characterized in that the bridge member (12) is flexible and in that a relative displacement between said part of the turret structure (2) and the vessel (1) or a structure (23;30) fixed to the vessel is allowed, and wherein said bridge member (12) supports the fluid piping (6) to substantially take away the loads from the fluid piping on the said swivel (4) and its outlets (5).
     
    2. Vessel according to claim 1, wherein the bridge member (12) is provided with at least one hinge member (14;16;25) for allowing said relative displacement between said part of the turret structure (2) and the vessel (1) or the structure (23;30) fixed to the vessel.
     
    3. Vessel according to claim 2, wherein the at least one hinge member (14;16;25) is positioned at an end of the bridge member (12) connecting to said part of the turret structure (2) or connecting to the vessel (1) or the structure (23;30) fixed to the vessel.
     
    4. Vessel according to claim 2, wherein the at least one hinge member (14;16;25) is positioned intermediate two opposite ends of the bridge member (12).
     
    5. Vessel according to any of the claims 2-4, wherein the hinge member (14;16;25) is defined by a classic hinge or by a weakened part of the bridge member (12) or a component connected therewith simulating a hinge.
     
    6. Vessel according to claim 1, wherein the bridge member (12) is sufficiently long for achieving its flexibility for allowing said relative displacement between said part of the turret structure (2) and the vessel (1) or the structure (23;30) fixed to the vessel without the need for hinge members.
     
    7. Vessel according to any of the previous claims, wherein said part of the turret structure (2) is a swivel tower (17) mounted around the swivel (4) and engaging the remainder of the turret structure (2) by means of a swivel tower bearing (18), such that the swivel tower does not follow a rotation of the remainder of the turret structure around the turret axis (3) .
     
    8. Vessel according to claim 7, wherein the bridge member (12) engages the swivel tower (17) in such a manner that a rotation of the swivel tower around the turret axis (3) is locked to the rotation of the vessel (1).
     
    9. Vessel according to claim 7, wherein the swivel tower (17) is connected to the vessel (1) by a torsion lock mechanism (33) which substantially ensures that the swivel tower and the vessel rotate in unison.
     
    10. Vessel according to any of the claims 7-9, wherein the fluid piping (6) is attached to the swivel tower (17) in a stationary manner to substantially take away the loads from the fluid piping on the said swivel (4) and its outlets (5).
     
    11. Vessel according to any of the claims 7-10, wherein the fluid piping (6) connects to the swivel (4) through a piping loop present in or around the swivel tower (17).
     
    12. Vessel according to any of the claims 7-11, wherein the swivel tower bearing (18) is located above, below or at the level of a fluid inlet of the swivel (4).
     
    13. Vessel according to any of the claims 7-12, wherein the bridge member (12) or part thereof is capable of a rotation around a vertical axis (26).
     
    14. Vessel according to claim 13, wherein the bridge member (12) is connected to said structure (23;30) fixed to the vessel (1) through a universal joint, such as for example a ball joint, allowing rotations but preventing translations of the bridge member relative to said structure fixed to the vessel.
     
    15. Vessel according to any of the claims 7-14, wherein the swivel tower bearing (18) is positioned on a possibly enlarged swivel base part (34).
     
    16. Vessel according to any of the claims 1-6, wherein said part of the turret structure (2) is defined by the rotating part(s) of the swivel (4).
     
    17. Vessel according to claim 16, wherein the bridge member (12) engages the rotating parts of the swivel (4) in such a manner that their rotation around the turret axis (3) is substantially locked to the rotation of the vessel (1).
     
    18. Vessel according to claim 16, wherein the rotating part(s) of the swivel (4) are substantially locked in rotation with the vessel (1) by means of a torsion lock mechanism (35) .
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Wasserfahrzeug (1), aufweisend eine Einrichtung zum Übertragen von Fluiden zwischen dem Wasserfahrzeug (1) und einer Turmstruktur (2), welche in dem Wasserfahrzeug zur Rotation um eine im Wesentlichen vertikale Turmachse (3) angebracht ist, wobei die Turmstruktur (2) einen Drehkopf (4) aufweist, welcher mindestens einen Fluidweg aufweist, und wobei der Fluidweg mit einem Ende einer Fluidrohrleitung (6), deren zweites Ende mit dem Wasserfahrzeug verbunden ist, verbunden ist, wobei die Einrichtung ferner aufweist ein Brückenelement (12), welches einen Teil der Turmstruktur (2) mit dem Wasserfahrzeug (1) verbindet, wobei eine Rotation des Teils der Turmstruktur (2) um die Turmachse (3) im Wesentlichen mit der Rotation des Wasserfahrzeugs im Eingriff ist, gekennzeichnet dadurch, dass das Brückenelement (12) flexibel ist, und dadurch, dass eine Relativverschiebung zwischen dem Teil der Turmstruktur (2) und dem Wasserfahrzeug (1) oder einer an dem Wasserfahrzeug fixierten Struktur (23;30) zugelassen ist, und wobei das Brückenelement (12) die Fluidrohrleitung (6) dazu abstützt, die Lasten von der Fluidrohrleitung an dem Drehkopf (4) und dessen Auslässen (5) im Wesentlichen weg zu nehmen.
     
    2. Wasserfahrzeug gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei das Brückenelement (12) mit mindestens einem Gelenkelement (14;16;25) zum Zulassen der Relativverschiebung zwischen dem Teil der Turmstruktur (2) und dem Wasserfahrzeug (1) oder der an dem Wasserfahrzeug fixierten Struktur (23;30) versehen ist.
     
    3. Wasserfahrzeug gemäß Anspruch 2, wobei das mindestens eine Gelenkelement (14;16;25) an einem Ende des Brückenelements (12), welches mit dem Teil der Turmstruktur (2) verbunden ist oder mit dem Wasserfahrzeug (1) oder der an dem Wasserfahrzeug fixierten Struktur (23;30) verbunden ist, angeordnet ist.
     
    4. Wasserfahrzeug gemäß Anspruch 2, wobei das mindestens eine Gelenkelement (14;16;25) zwischen zwei gegenüberliegenden Enden des Brückenelements (12) angeordnet ist.
     
    5. Wasserfahrzeug gemäß irgendeinem der Ansprüche 2 - 4, wobei das Gelenkelement (14;16;25) durch ein klassisches Gelenk oder durch einen geschwächten Teil des Brückenelements (12) oder eine damit verbundene Komponente, welche ein Gelenk simuliert, definiert ist.
     
    6. Wasserfahrzeug gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei das Brückenelement (12) ausreichend lang ist zum Erzielen seiner Flexibilität, um die Relativverschiebung zwischen dem Teil der Turmstruktur (2) und dem Wasserfahrzeug (1) oder der an dem Wasserfahrzeug fixierten Struktur (23;30) zuzulassen, ohne Gelenkelemente zu erfordern.
     
    7. Wasserfahrzeug gemäß irgendeinem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Teil der Turmstruktur (2) ein Drehturm (17) ist, welcher um den Drehkopf (4) herum angebracht ist und mit dem Rest der Turmstruktur (2) mittels eines Drehturmlagers (18) im Eingriff ist, so dass der Drehturm einer Rotation des Rests der Turmstruktur um die Turmachse (3) nicht folgt.
     
    8. Wasserfahrzeug gemäß Anspruch 7, wobei das Brückenelement (12) mit dem Drehturm (17) auf solch eine Weise im Eingriff ist, dass eine Rotation des Drehturms um die Turmachse (3) mit der Rotation des Wasserfahrzeugs (1) im Eingriff ist.
     
    9. Wasserfahrzeug gemäß Anspruch 7, wobei der Drehturm (17) mit dem Wasserfahrzeug (1) durch einen Torsionsverriegelungsmechanismus (33), welcher im Wesentlichen sicherstellt, dass sich der Drehturm und das Wasserfahrzeug gemeinsam drehen, verbunden ist.
     
    10. Wasserfahrzeug gemäß irgendeinem der Ansprüche 7 - 9, wobei die Fluidrohrleitung (6) an dem Drehturm (17) auf eine stationäre Weise angebracht ist, um die Lasten von der Fluidrohrleitung an dem Drehkopf (4) und dessen Auslässen (5) im Wesentlichen weg zu nehmen.
     
    11. Wasserfahrzeug gemäß irgendeinem der Ansprüche 7 - 10, wobei die Fluidrohrleitung (6) mit dem Drehkopf (4) durch eine Rohrschleife, welche in oder um den Drehturm (17) herum vorhanden ist, verbunden ist.
     
    12. Wasserfahrzeug gemäß irgendeinem der Ansprüche 7 - 11, wobei das Drehturmlager (18) oberhalb, unterhalb oder auf der Höhe eines Fluideinlasses des Drehkopfs (4) angeordnet ist.
     
    13. Wasserfahrzeug gemäß irgendeinem der Ansprüche 7 - 12, wobei das Brückenelement (12) oder ein Teil davon zu einer Rotation um eine vertikale Achse (26) in der Lage ist.
     
    14. Wasserfahrzeug gemäß Anspruch 13, wobei das Brückenelement (12) mit der an dem Wasserfahrzeug fixierten Struktur (23;30) durch ein Universalgelenk, wie zum Beispiel ein Kugelgelenk, welches Drehungen zulässt, aber Translationen des Brückenelements relativ zur an dem Wasserfahrzeug fixierten Struktur verhindert, verbunden ist.
     
    15. Wasserfahrzeug gemäß irgendeinem der Ansprüche 7 - 14, wobei das Drehturmlager (18) auf einem gegebenenfalls vergrößerten Drehbasisteil (34) angeordnet ist.
     
    16. Wasserfahrzeug gemäß irgendeinem der Ansprüche 1 - 6, wobei der Teil der Turmstruktur (2) durch Drehteil(e) des Drehkopfs (4) definiert ist.
     
    17. Wasserfahrzeug gemäß Anspruch 16, wobei das Brückenelement (12) mit den Drehteilen des Drehkopfs (4) auf solch eine Weise im Eingriff ist, dass ihre Rotation um die Turmachse (3) im Wesentlichen mit der Rotation des Wasserfahrzeugs (1) im Eingriff ist.
     
    18. Wasserfahrzeug gemäß Anspruch 16, wobei das (die) Drehteil(e) des Drehkopfs (4) im Wesentlichen im Dreheingriff mit dem Wasserfahrzeug (1) sind mittels eines Torsionsverriegelungsmechanismus (35).
     


    Revendications

    1. Navire (1) comprenant un ensemble pour transférer des fluides entre ledit navire (1) et une structure de tourelle (2) montée dans ledit navire pour une rotation autour d'un axe de tourelle sensiblement vertical (3), dans lequel ladite structure de tourelle (2) comprend une rotule (4) ayant au moins un trajet de fluide et dans lequel le trajet de fluide est raccordé à une extrémité d'une canalisation de fluide (6) dont la seconde extrémité et raccordée au navire, dans lequel l'ensemble comprend en outre un organe pont (12) raccordant une partie de la structure de tourelle (2) au navire (1), dans lequel une rotation de ladite partie de la structure de tourelle autour de l'axe de tourelle (3) est sensiblement bloquée sur la rotation du navire, caractérisé en ce que l'organe pont (12) est flexible et en ce qu'un déplacement relatif entre ladite partie de la structure de tourelle (2) et le navire (1) ou une structure (23 ; 30) fixée au navire est permis, et dans lequel ledit organe pont (12) supporte la canalisation de fluide (6) pour enlever sensiblement les charges de la canalisation de fluide sur ladite rotule (4) et ses orifices de sortie (5).
     
    2. Navire selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'organe pont (12) est pourvu d'au moins un organe charnière (14 ; 16 ; 25) pour permettre ledit déplacement relatif entre ladite partie de la structure de tourelle (2) et le navire (1) ou la structure (23 ; 30) fixée au navire.
     
    3. Navire selon la revendication 2, dans lequel l'au moins un organe charnière (14 ; 16 ; 25) est positionné au niveau d'une extrémité de l'organe pont (12) se raccordant à ladite partie de la structure de tourelle (2) ou se raccordant au navire (1) ou à la structure (23 ; 30) fixée au navire.
     
    4. Navire selon la revendication 2, dans lequel l'au moins un organe charnière (14 ; 16 ; 25) est positionné entre deux extrémités opposées de l'organe pont (12).
     
    5. Navire selon l'une quelconque des revendications 2 à 4, dans lequel l'organe charnière (14 ; 16 ; 25) est défini par une charnière classique ou par une partie affaiblie de l'organe pont (12) ou un composant raccordé à celui-ci simulant une charnière.
     
    6. Navire selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'organe pont (12) est suffisamment long pour parvenir à sa flexibilité pour permettre ledit déplacement relatif entre ladite partie de la structure de tourelle (2) et le navire (1) ou la structure (23 ; 30) fixée au navire sans recourir à des organes charnières.
     
    7. Navire selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel ladite partie de la structure de tourelle (2) est une tour à rotule (17) montée autour de la rotule (4) et s'engageant avec le reste de la structure de tourelle (2) au moyen d'un palier de tour à rotule (18), de sorte que la tour à rotule ne suive pas une rotation du reste de la structure de tourelle autour de l'axe de tourelle (3).
     
    8. Navire selon la revendication 7, dans lequel l'organe pont (12) s'engage avec la tour à rotule (17) de manière à ce qu'une rotation de la tour à rotule (17) autour de l'axe de tourelle (3) soit bloquée sur la rotation du navire (1).
     
    9. Navire selon la revendication 7, dans lequel la tour à rotule (17) est raccordée au navire (1) par un mécanisme de blocage en torsion (33) qui garantit sensiblement que la tour à rotule et le navire tournent à l'unisson.
     
    10. Navire selon l'une quelconque des revendications 7 à 9, dans lequel la canalisation de fluide (6) est fixée à la tour à rotule (17) de manière fixe pour enlever sensiblement les charges de la canalisation de fluide sur ladite rotule (4) et ses orifices de sortie (5).
     
    11. Navire selon l'une quelconque des revendications 7 à 10, dans lequel la canalisation de fluide (6) se raccorde à la rotule (4) par le biais d'une boucle de canalisation présente dans ou autour de la tour à rotule (17).
     
    12. Navire selon l'une quelconque des revendications 7 à 11, dans lequel le palier de tour à rotule (18) est situé au-dessus, en dessous ou au niveau d'un orifice d'entrée de fluide de la rotule (4).
     
    13. Navire selon l'une quelconque des revendications 7 à 12, dans lequel l'organe pont (12) ou une partie de celui-ci est capable de rotation autour d'un axe vertical (26).
     
    14. Navire selon la revendication 13, dans lequel l'organe pont (12) est raccordé à ladite structure (23 ; 30) fixée au navire (1) par le biais d'un joint universel, de sorte que par exemple un joint sphérique, permettant des rotations mais empêchant des translations de l'organe pont par rapport à ladite structure fixée au navire.
     
    15. Navire selon une quelconque des revendications 7 à 14, dans lequel le palier de tour à rotule (18) est positionné sur une partie de base de rotule (34) éventuellement agrandie.
     
    16. Navire selon une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6, dans lequel ladite partie de la structure de tourelle (2) est définie par la ou les parties rotatives de la rotule (4).
     
    17. Navire selon la revendication 16, dans lequel l'organe pont (12) s'engage avec les parties rotatives de la rotule (4) de manière à ce que leur rotation autour de l'axe de tourelle (3) soit sensiblement bloquée sur la rotation du navire (1).
     
    18. Navire selon la revendication 16, dans lequel la ou les parties rotatives de la rotule (4) sont sensiblement bloquées en rotation avec le navire (1) au moyen d'un mécanisme de blocage en torsion (35).
     




    Drawing





















    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description