Ship hull structural damages are often caused by extreme wave-induced loads. Reliable load predictions are required to minimize the risk of structural failures. One conceivable approach relies on direct computations of extreme events with appropriate numerical methods. In this perspective, we present a systematic study comparing results obtained with different computational methods for wave-induced loads and motions of different ship types in regular and random irregular long-crested extremes waves. Significant wave heights between 10.5 and 12.5 m were analyzed. The numerical methods differ in complexity and are based on strip theory, boundary element methods (BEM) and unsteady Reynolds-Averaged Navier–Stokes (URANS) equations. In advance to the comparative study, the codes applied have been enhanced by different researchers to account for relevant nonlinearities related to wave excitations and corresponding ship responses in extreme waves. The sea states investigated were identified based on the Coefficient of Contribution (CoC) method. Computed time histories, response amplitude operators and short-term statistics of ship responses and wave elevation were systematically compared against experimental data. While the results of the numerical methods, based on potential theory, in small and moderate waves agreed favorably with the experiments, they deviated considerably from the measurements in higher waves. The URANS-based predictions compared fairly well to experimental measurements with the drawback of significantly higher computation times.
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