Royal Niestern Sander has laid the keel for a shallow draft ice breaking walk-to-work (W2W) vessel. The ship is specially designed and optimised for year-round operations in the challenging conditions on the east coast of Sakhalin in temperatures ranging from -30 degrees to +35 degrees Celsius.

By combining a shallow draft of 3.15 metres, a transit draft of 4.0 metres in open waters and a grounded bottom notation, the vessel can be deployed year-round. With proven 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 40 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.

The shipyard is building the ship for a joint-venture between Mercury Sakhalin and Pola. It is the first shallow draft ice breaking walk-to-work vessel in the world and is expected to be delivered by the end of December 2021. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, stringent safety measures applied and physical attendance was reduced to a minimum during the keel laying, which took place 11 November.