Shipyard Niestern Sander undertakes walk-to-work vessel conversion

Dutch shipyard Royal Niestern Sander has signed a contract with Dixstone Holdings Ltd for the conversion of a platform supply vessel into a walk-to-work emergency response and rescue vessel. The conversion will take around nine months and the vessel is expected to be delivered to its owners early 2021.

The vessel arrived at the repair yard of Niestern Sander at the end of May. Based on the experience with the new build Kroonborg and Kasteelborg conversion into a walk-to-work vessel back in 2018, Niestern Sander will convert the Wärtsilä-designed vessel in a similar way. The vessel (currently named SK Line 728) has been built at Wuhu shipyard, China, as a platform supply vessel.

In order to comply with the ERRV-B standards and the intended future operations, the vessel will undergo a significant modification. Part of the conversion scope includes adding an extra bow thruster, daughter craft and motion compensated gangway. In addition, a large accommodation block with offices, treatment room, storage space and cabins will be constructed on deck.

Long-term charter

This particular vessel is intended, following its conversion, to be long-term chartered as a walk-to-work vessel to provide maintenance services for the gas platforms in southern North Sea on the UK continental shelf. The vessel will support a large independent European oil & gas operator to maintain the performance of the platforms and optimise maintenance and de-complexing activities. This is to reduce the operational expenditure whilst increasing performance and safety. The lower costs means that the field life of the platforms can be extended. The vessel will accommodate around forty of the charterer’s personnel onboard, to provide the maintenance services.

Dixstone is a company specialised in delivering turn keys projects to oil and gas operators. The company has an extensive track record in FSO/FPSO conversions, accommodation barges, diving support vessels and drilling jack-up conversions.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

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