PHOTO: Ampelmann’s Icemann makes 10,000 transfers in cold Russian waters

Dutch offshore crew transfer solution provider Ampelmann has boasted that its recently launched Icemann gangway system has reached a significant milestone offshore Russia. The Iceman gangway arrived in Eastern Russia in August, and has already made 10,000 crew transfers.

The gangway is used to transfer personnel working on offshore platforms under the Sakhalin-2 project. According to Ampelmann, the Icemann is currently the only gangway system of its kind able to operate in remote and extreme cold climate.

The N-type gangway, nicknamed ‘Icemann’ has been installed on the Stepan Makarov, a new ice-class platform standby vessel built for the Sakhalin-2 project under a 20-year charter between Sakhalin Energy and vessel operator, Sovcomflot. It is the first standby vessel in the world to use such a gangway for operations in severe ice states and temperatures, Ampelmann said.

“The Icemann was born in response to a growing demand for safe and effective transfer equipment in frontier regions,” said Arnoud van Leer, senior motion control engineer with Ampelmann. “It is purpose-built to service remote and extreme cold climate oil and gas operations in areas such as non-Arctic Russia, Norway and Canada, as well as regions of the Caspian Sea.

Built in The Netherlands, the Icemann is designed to safely and efficiently transfer crew in extreme ice states and temperatures as low as -28 oC (-18 oF). The fully enclosed and insulated system is operational in sea states up to 3.5 metres (m) significant wave height and comprises active motion compensation. The transfer deck can accommodate up to 20 people and can rotate 360 degrees to ensure flexibility in platform landing locations and directions. It has a maximum gangway length of 32m, a telescopic scope of 11m and a footprint of 11x11m.

In addition to Icemann, Ampelmann said that Sakhalin Energy would charter a standard, non-winterized version of the motion compensated gangway for five years, to be installed on a second ice breaking support vessel, the Fedor Ushakov, and to support the personnel transfer requirements during the summer period.

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