On 11th November, Royal Niestern Sander held a keel-laying. The keel-laying was for the shallow draft ice-breaking walk to work vessel that the shipyard is building for a joint-venture between Mercury Sakhalin and Pola. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, stringent safety measures on location applies and physical attendance was reduced to a minimum.

Niestern Sander Lays Keel On Shallow Draft Ice Breaking Walk to Work Vessel


The shallow draft ice-breaking walk to work 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 degrees to +35 degrees. 

By combining a shallow draught of 3,15m, a transit draught of 4,0 m 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 100cm. The motion-compensated gangway on this vessel is optimized 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.


This vessel 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. This project strengthens the position of Niestern Sander in the construction of specialist offshore vessels, including icebreakers and walk-to-work vessels.