PIANC guidelines for fender design (Report of PIANC MarCom Working Group 33—Guidelines for the Design of Fender Systems) was published in 2002. The PIANC document is a guidance and not a design code, while many designers worldwide utilize it as such. The PIANC document itself covers many factors related to calculating berthing energies, selecting a marine fender, and determining reaction loads on the supporting marine structure. Where the PIANC guidance could use some additional discussion is in the application with current design codes. In addition, since its publication in 2002 a number of items discussed within the PIANC fender design guidance have been research further including berthing velocities, the added mass coefficient, and the consideration of a more rational approach to developing factors of safety associated with fender selection.
This paper provides a proposed rational approach for marine terminal designers in the United States to accompany the PIANC document and apply the factors outlined within it to standard US design codes. In addition, this paper provides commentary on the various topics covered within the PIANC guidance to provide some additional clarity and updated information based on the latest information and research for various topics.
As an example, recent research has found that the berthing velocity criteria stipulated in the PIANC Guideline may be overly conservative. This has potentially led to waterfront engineers specifying fenders that may be overly conservative, while meeting all current design guidance.