The Autonomous Port of Lomé in Togo is making a major investment in order to be able to receive Ultra Large Container Ships. In addition to a new dock, a new and deeper nautical access channel is required. Flanders Hydraulics Research and Ghent University were contacted by the general contractor of the project, Terminal Investment Limited, to propose a design of the access channel and an adapted lay-out of the port. The first two stages of the project, executed in 2013, consisted of a providing concept design dimensions using guidelines and of evaluating and adjusting the design using real-time simulations in a rudimentary 3D environment. An advice was given about the width, depth and bend radius of the channel.
For the third and final stage of the project (2014), the arrival and departure of Ultra Large Container Ships was evaluated and practised on the full mission bridge manoeuvring simulators of Flanders Hydraulics Research. The objective was to evaluate the final lay-out of the port and the proposed aids of navigation. The required assistance of tugs was determined and optimal manoeuvring scenarios were established on advice of the Flemish Pilotage. During the simulations the wind and current conditions were varied.
Finally, Togolese pilots came to Antwerp to train the manoeuvres in the simulators and to gain experience, again with advice from the Flemish Pilotage. The proposed manoeuvring scenarios were carried out without problems, even in heavy wind conditions. After the training sessions at Flanders Hydraulics Research, the pilots stayed on at the Belgian coast for some real-life training on board of large container vessels.