The fully motion compensating gangway system designed to withstand temperatures as low as -40°C has reached its first big milestone after being in operation for a year. Having enabled more than 40,000 safe personnel transfers and over 2,000 landings in the area of Sakhalin, the Russian Far East, the Icemann is the first gangway system in the market that can operate in temperatures down to -28°C and in sea states up to 3.5m significant wave height.
The Icemann was developed in collaboration with the client, Sakhalin Energy, to tailor the system to the harsh winter conditions in the region and the specific requirements of the O&G project at hand.
"When we first approached Ampelmann back in 2015 with the idea to design us a winter version of a heave compensated gangway, very few people believed that it would be ever achievable. Now the “baby” is one year old and we can feel the difference it brought to us: year-round operations, higher efficiency, higher redundancy and safety," says Sergey Komarov, Sakhalin Energy Shore Base Marine Manager.
To make it through the rough winter conditions, the system was designed with most essential equipment being placed in a temperature-controlled engine room under the hexapod, and all hydraulic parts being covered or heated. The system also has a built-in capacity to work for five years without major overhauls on an offshore vessel at sea.
As a result of its ingenuity, the N-type Icemann also received an OTC Spotlight on New Technology Award earlier this year, an award recognising the latest and most advanced technologies transforming the global Oil & Gas (O&G) industry.
"The Icemann project has been an ambitious one to start with, so we are very pleased to see it successfully utilised for Sakhalin Energy," said Evert Willeumier, Operations Area Manager Asia Pacific for Ampelmann. "We have enabled more than 40,000 safe personnel transfers, proving that this revolutionary system delivers a safe and comfortable transfer service in extreme cold conditions, thereby opening up the possibility to perform year-round platform maintenance activities."
The system will be operating in the Russian Far East for the foreseeable future as part of a 10-year contract with Sakhalin Energy.