Dutch offshore access specialist Ampelmann has unveiled the latest Walk to Work system which has been specially designed for operation in extreme cold, non-Arctic, conditions down to -28C. The N-type, nicknamed Icemann, was officially launched on Thursday, April 20, in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
According to Ampelmann, the fully enclosed and insulated system is designed to safely transfer crew in extreme icing and temperatures as low as -28C (-18F). It is operational in sea states up to 3.5 meters wave height and comprises active motion compensation. The Icemann rotates to 360 degrees and is controlled from the vessel with flexibility in platform landing locations and directions, Ampelmann explains.
The Dutch company points out that walk-to-work systems, where workers transfer between offshore platforms and adjacent vessels, are increasingly being used by the offshore industry as a safe and cost-effective alternative to helicopter and basket transfers.
Providing the rationale behind the decision to develop the Icemann, the Dutch crew transfer specialist said, the system was a response to growing demand for effective and safe personnel transfer equipment in frontier regions. The company anticipates strong demand for the Icemann to service remote and extreme cold oil and gas areas in non-Arctic Russia, Norway and Canada as well as regions of the Caspian Sea.
Ampelmann announced last year that Sakhalin Energy had ordered an Icemann system for use at the Sakhalin-2 field in eastern Russia (outside of the Arctic Circle). The system is set to be installed later this year, on one of the client’s ice class vessels for the next ten years.
Jim Craig, Ampelmann’s chief executive officer, said: “The system has been designed from the bottom up with every single component selected for its ability to operate in these extreme conditions. Given the remoteness of the work, it is crucial that maintenance is minimal and this has been reflected in the design.
“Various different extreme weather technologies are employed in the design of the Iceman, making it the most high-performance gangway system that has ever been built from an operations and conditions point of view. The system has been in development for a long-time, and we have worked with the customer to meet their exact requirements.”