Autonomous tugs may play an important role in future ports, due to the shortage of qualified mariners. A digital twin (mathematical model incorporating a vessel’s hydrodynamic behavior and response, suitable for real-time control) would be needed for autonomous operations. Yet, partly because tugs are generally high-powered and very maneuverable compared to conventional vessels, there is little published data on the hydrodynamic performance of such vessels. As a first step in the development of the tug’s digital twin, the present work studies the maneuvering and seakeeping performance of a generic tug at model scale. Numerical simulations are performed for an approximately 1:10 scale model for standard resistance, static and dynamic captive and seakeeping cases. Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) k-ω model is employed for the simulations including the free surface through the Volume of Fluid approach. The hydrodynamic forces and moments on the tug model in the simulations of the standard resistance and the static and dynamic captive cases, as well as the tug model’s motions and the added resistance in headseas, are investigated. The simulation results provide data to build a mathematical maneuvering model for the tug based on 4-DoF MMG manoeuvring model, which serves as the digital twin in this case.

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