Bringing Submarine Cables to the Pacific

Cable being coiled aboard the ship and a wave from the crew undertaking the load in the tank. (credit: ASN)

Published 16 April, 2019

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In March this year, Mat Shields, Vocus Communications Technical Lead for the CS² project, travelled to ASN’s manufacturing plant in Calais to review final testing of both the Coral Sea Cable System and Solomon Islands Domestic Network before the cables were loaded onto the Ile de Brehat ship for transport.

Once manufactured, the cable is coiled and stored in large storage tanks in the factory. From the factory, situated about 1km from the dock where the ship is berthed, the cable is fed out of the tanks and onto tracks and rollers all the way to the ship. The cable is loaded through an underground tunnel over a distance of 800m before being carefully re-coiled by hand into tanks on board the Ile De Brehat. The segments are contiguous so from time to time, the process must be slowed to allow repeaters and joints to be carefully escorted or “walked” along the route from the factory to the ship.

Cable loading is scheduled to be completed by mid-April. The ship will then travel from Calais to the Coral Sea to begin the cable lay.

The cable laying vessel, the Ile de Brehat, at the dockside in Calais (credit: ASN)
The cable laying vessel, the Ile de Brehat, at the dockside in Calais (credit: ASN)
Branching Unit and Compact Branching Unit safely loaded (credit: ASN)
Branching Unit and Compact Branching Unit safely loaded (credit: ASN)
CS2 cable in the tunnel that runs between the factory and the cable ship, escorted by loading staff (credit: ASN)
CS2 cable in the tunnel that runs between the factory and the cable ship, escorted by loading staff (credit: ASN)