In June 2020, Netherlands-based shipbuilder Royal Niestern Sander was contracted to build the world’s first shallow-draught icebreaking walk-to-work vessel for a joint venture between Mercury Sakhalin and Pola. Aker Arctic developed the vessel’s icebreaking hull form and carried out ice model tests to verify its performance.
Designed to operate year-round in the seasonally freezing waters off the east coast of Sakhalin, the walk-to-work (W2W) vessel features a motion-compensated gangway that allows transferring up to 40 persons safely and comfortably between the shallow Nabil Port and the offshore oil and gas platforms. In addition, the vessel will function as an Emergency Response and Rescue Vessel (ERRV) and can be deployed to combat oil spills.
Working together with Royal Niestern Sander, Aker Arctic developed the vessel’s icebreaking hull form and carried out ice model tests to verify its capability to operate independently in up to 100 cm thick level ice in both deep and shallow water. Additional tests were performed to confirm the vessel’s operational capability in brash ice channels as well as ability to overcome a grounded ice ridge.
In addition to Aker Arctic’s shallow-draught icebreaking expertise, the new walk-to-work vessel incorporates Royal Wagenborg’s operational experience from the icebreaking supply vessel Arcticaborg. Originally built for the Caspian Sea but currently operating in Sakhalin area, this vessel was designed by Aker Arctic’s predecessor Kvaerner Masa-Yards Arctic Research Centre and built at Helsinki Shipyard in Finland.
The new shallow-draught icebreaking walk-to-work vessel will be delivered in December 2021.