A new life for the
Arctic Sunrise

Niestern Sander carries out successful refit for Greenpeace

Over an intense nine-month period, Royal Niestern Sander Shipyard firmly took on the Arctic Sunrise. During the extensive overhaul, nearly all of the accommodation and work areas of this Greenpeace vessel were renewed, granting the vessel at least another 15 years of service. Director Bart Volgers looks back on this successful project. 

“The first contact between Greenpeace and Royal Niestern Sander was established in the spring of 2015. The known vessel Arctic Sunrise was in need of an upgrade and an extension of the accommodation capacity. Greenpeace had suggested an aluminium superstructure, but after a few visits to the vessel we determined that this would not benefit its stability. Furthermore, the increase in space would be  minimal. We did see opportunities amidships”, Bart Volgers says.


Shortly after the offer including these ideas was submitted, Greenpeace showed interest in Niestern Sander. It wasn’t long before the first delegation from Greenpeace arrived at the Groninger shipyard for an exploratory meeting. Bart continues: “We did receive the first indications that our competitor would not be eligible for the task. And it became clear at that moment that our offer was along the lines of their expectations; this became more apparent in the following meetings with Greenpeace. In January the deliberation came: Niestern Sander was the only candidate remaining. All in all it took until early June before the final contract between Greenpeace and Niestern Sander was signed.”

The real deal

Late September the moment of truth began when the Arctic Sunrise arrived in Delfzijl. The vessel spent a few weeks docked at the Terminal to allow the crew to strip the vessel of all material that needed to be saved. Next, the vessel was ready to leave the slipway and the real work could begin. “We cut the existing midship section from the vessel and replaced it with new sections that were created in the interim by our construction department.”, Bart explains. “All existing accommodation was stripped away completely, except for the wheelhouse. All lesser quality steelwork has been replaced. Cables have been renewed and new ventilation shafts have been fitted. At the end of March the vessel was transferred back to the dry dock for maintenance below the waterline. Understandably, the work on the  accommodation continued throughout.”

“It is good to mention that this feat was accomplished without any accidents or incidents, which is a compliment for everyone involved.”


Early May the Arctic Sunrise was nearly finished and after receiving a fresh layer of paint she was launched again. The remaining tasks were completed on a spot between the floating docks, while the crew re-equipped the vessel. She was redelivered to a very content Greenpeace in July 2017. “It is good to mention that this feat was accomplished without any accidents or incidents, which is a compliment for everyone involved. Now we hope to stay top of mind with the client.”, Bart Volgers concludes proudly.