Ocean-going vessels are under the continuous influence on the effect of the weather, e.g. wind, waves, ocean currents. Since the weather conditions are random in nature, there are situations where the shipmaster changes the ship speed or/and heading of the original sailing path to avoid harsh weather conditions according to his judgment, experience and/or using voyage optimization systems (e.g. weather routing systems). However, ship operators hardly prioritize the ship fatigue routing in their operations. It is preferable to consider the effect of different wave environment due to ship operation in the design process to make a more rational ship design of the structural members.
In this study, sailing paths are planned, adopting voyage optimization in order to reduce the probability of encountering severe sea conditions and the minimization of the fatigue accumulation in ship structures. Short-sea sequences are generated by a statistical wave storm model. The storm profiles are determined by using the cumulative frequency of short-seas which are experienced in the different voyages optimized by the algorithm. The influence of the difference in short-seas encountered by the target ship following the optimized voyages on the cumulative damage is demonstrated by a container vessel, which also considers a weather routing system in her operations. Full-scale measurement data for two years’ voyages are considered for the verification. The benefits of using voyages optimization systems focus on reducing fatigue damage to mitigate the risk of structural failure is discussed.