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Systems Theoretic Process Analysis Applied to an Offshore Supply Vessel Dynamic Positioning System

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Technical Report

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MIT Lincoln Laboratory Lexington United States

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This research demonstrates the effectiveness of Systems Theoretic Process Analysis STPA and the advantages that result from using this new safety analysis method compared to traditional techniques. To do this, STPA was used to analyze a case study involving Naval Offshore Supply Vessels OSV that incorporate software-intensive dynamic positioning in support of target vessel escort operations. The analysis begins by analyzing the OSVs in the context of the Navys organizational structure and then delves into assessing the functional relationship between OSV system components that can lead to unsafe control and the violation of existing safety constraints. The results of this analysis show that STPA found all of the component failures identified through independently conducted traditional safety analyses of the OSV system. Furthermore, the analysis shows that STPA finds many additional safety issues that were either not identified or inadequately mitigated through the use of Fault Tree Analysis and Failure Modes and Effects Analysis on this system.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Underwater and Marine Navigation and Guidance

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