Niestern Sander and Wagenborg to build ice-breaking W2W vessel

Together, shipyard Royal Niestern Sander and Wagenborg Offshore will realise a world first by building a shallow draft ice-breaking Walk-to-Work vessel. After delivery in December 2021, Mercury Sakhalin will operate the vessel on the east coast of Sakhalin for the oil and gas industry.

The contract was awarded to Royal Niestern Sander, Wagenborg Offshore and a joint venture between Mercury Sakhalin and Pola after a tender procedure. Acting as an intermediary, Wagenborg Offshore has contributed to the project with its operational experience of sailing in shallow waters with ice breaking vessels in the Caspian as well as the Walk-to-Work (W2W) track record in the Southern North Sea. Together with the in-house design and shipbuilding expertise of Royal Niestern Sander a new innovative type of walk to work vessel was born.

From -30 to +35 degrees

The shallow draft ice-breaking walk to work vessel is specially designed and optimised for year-round operations in the challenging conditions on the east coast of Sakhalin in temperatures ranging from -30 to +35 degrees. The ship combines a shallow draught of 3.15 metres, a transit draught of 4.0 metres in open waters and a grounded bottom notation. With Wagenborg icebreaking technology of the icebreaking hull and pulling (ice milling) Azimuth thrusters, the vessel can break through ice up to 100 centimetres.

The motion compensated gangway on this vessel is optimised for both winter and summer operations, resulting in multiple gangway positions. The vessel will perform year-round crew transfer services for up to forty persons from the shallow Nabil Port to offshore platforms near the east coast of Sakhalin. In addition, the vessel can be deployed for oil spill response services.

One of the largest new build orders for Niestern Sander

The vessel is expected to be delivered by the end of December 2021 and is said to be one of the largest new build orders for Niestern Sander. In addition, various subcontractors and suppliers from the region are involved in the project for engineering, delivering steel, parts of the engine room, navigation and rescue equipment. This project has a positive economic impact on the maritime cluster in the North of the Netherlands.

As of November 2019, Wagenborg Offshore has already been working together with Mercury Sakhalin in Sakhalin with the ice-breaking support vessel Arcticaborg.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.