SCHOTTEL To Propel World’s First Shallow-Draught Ice-Breaking Walk-To-Work Vessel

German propulsion expert SCHOTTEL has been awarded a contract to supply Royal Niestern Sander with thrusters for a new shallow-draught vessel. The Dutch shipyard is currently building a 75.9-meter-long and 14-meter-wide walk-to-work vessel commissioned by a joint venture between the Russian companies Mercury Sakhalin and Pola. The new vessel is considered to be the world’s first shallow-draught ice-breaking walk-to-work vessel.

After delivery in December 2021, Mercury Sakhalin will operate the vessel on the east coast of Sakhalin Island for the offshore oil and gas industry. It will carry an icebreaker 5 class notation.

Precise manoeuvrability

“In addition to efficiency and reliability, the most important requirement of thrusters on walk-to-work vessels is precise maneuverability. SCHOTTEL has already proven the performance of their propulsion units on several other walk-to-work vessels,” states Maxim Anatolievich Petrov, General Manager at OOO Mercury Sakhalin.

SCHOTTEL Royal Niestern Sander
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The new vessel features a SCHOTTEL propulsion package, which is driven by electric motors. It comprises one retractable rudder propeller type SRP 260 R (810 kW) and one transverse thruster type STT 2 (700 kW).

From -30 to +35 degrees Celsius

The shallow-draught vessel is specially designed and optimized for year-round operations in the challenging conditions on the east coast of Sakhalin in temperatures ranging from -30 to +35 degrees Celsius. It combines a shallow draught of 3.15 metres, a transit draught of 4 metres in open waters and can break through ice up to 100 centimetres.

Safety and reliability

The walk-to-work vessel is equipped with a motion-compensated gangway that can be operated in two positions. The vessel also offers accommodation for 45 service technicians and 15 crew members. This effectively makes it a small flotel, its main purpose being to ensure the safe transfer of service technicians and equipment to offshore facilities. Accordingly, the system design has to meet the high comfort standards of a flotel, fulfilled in this case by the SCHOTTEL thrusters.

The vessel will perform year-round crew transfer services from the shallow Nabil Port to offshore platforms near the east coast of Sakhalin. Beyond this, it can be deployed for oil spill response services.


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