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One of the most dangerous offshore personnel transfers - and one that this editor has had the unfortunate luck to have experienced firsthand - occurs between a fixed platform and a moving vessel, such as when transferring between a tender and a drilling platform, via the appropriately named “widow-maker.” Last December, a new offshore access system for safely transferring marine personnel was successfully tested at the Shell-owned Offshore Wind Farm at Egmond aan Zee (OWEZ). Developed at Delft University of Technology and called Ampelmann, the technology consists of a six-leg hydraulic motion compensation platform with a telescoping access bridge mounted on top, providing safe and easy access to any offshore installation. The new personnel transfer system was completed only one year after the first design appeared on the drawing board. The project team launched the Ampelmann Company Ltd., which is one of most promising spin-off companies of the Delft University of Technology in recent years.
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