Orange Marine, a wholly owned subsidiary of Orange, will build a new cable ship that will be even more efficient and with a reduced environmental footprint. It will be the first cable ship of her generation specially designed for the maintenance of submarine cables, both fiber optic telecommunication cables and inter-array power cables used in offshore windfarms.
Submarine cables are the backbone of the global internet. While careful choices of optimized routes are made and specific means of protections are used during their installation, defaults creating service outages are still regularly experienced. This can lead to major disruptions of internet and international telecommunications services, and in such cases a cable ship has to intervene.
This will be the mission of this new vessel, ready to sail within 24 hours at any time when required. She will replace C/S Raymond Croze, launched in 1983, who carried out more than one hundred cable repairs, mostly in Mediterranean, Black Sea and Red Sea.
This new vessel will be at the forefront of new, more efficient technologies and will be equipped with the latest state of the art equipment, in particular:
- Her streamlined hull is designed to reduce fuel consumption, 25% lower than average existing cable ships, and will be optimized for cable repairs,
- Her Azipod marine propulsion thrusters will give her unmatched maneuverability and reliability,
- The ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) used for cutting, inspecting and burying cables will be stored onboard in a dedicated hangar,
- The hybrid energy management system based on fuel production and electrical storage back-up using batteries will reduce her fuel consumption during cable works and will prevent any unexpected shutdown of a generator,
- Her capability to be connected through onshore power supply will enable her to reduce her carbon emissions when berthed.
Everything has been carefully designed to reduce her environmental footprint, which will lead to a reduction of 20% in CO2 emissions and an 80% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions compared to theRaymond Croze.
With C/SPierre de Fermatcommissioned in 2014, this new vessel will enable Orange Marine to have one of the most modern fleets of cable ships in the world. She will fly the French flag.
The construction of this vessel was entrusted to the Colombo Dockyard shipyard assisted by the Norwegian company Vard, specialized in the design of special vessels. These two companies jointly designed and built the last cable vessel that was commissioned and Vard also designed and built the Pierre de Fermat. The launch of the ship is scheduled for the first half of 2023.
Didier Dillard, CEO of Orange Marine, commented: “The decision to build this vessel is very good news for Orange Marine, its employees and its customers. We will have a new and high-performance tool, with a low environmental footprint, which will allow us to offer high-quality services for several decades to our customers, not only owners of submarine telecommunications cables but also operators of offshore wind farms.”
Jean-Luc Vuillemin, Executive Vice President of Orange in charge of international networks, and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Orange Marine, added: “The decision to build the latest generation cable vessel shows how much Orange believes in the future of the submarine cables market. Repair vessels are of strategic importance in maintaining global internet connectivity which relies over 80% on submarine cables. This new vessel allows us to be part of a long-term strategy to ensure that our network is well maintained and that Orange Marine continues to have the means to carry out its missions with state-of-the-art tools."
For Orange, this investment is a strong sign of the importance of this historic activity within the Group. It is part of the strategy of developing its position as a leading player in the international networks market in general and submarine cables in particular. Orange, in its Engage 2025 plan, announced the continued expansion of these networks.
About Orange Marine
The Submarine Cable Division of the French Postal and Telecommunications Ministry, active since the end of the 19th century, became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Orange Group in 1999.
In October 2010, Orange acquired a controlling interest in Elettra, a subsidiary of Telecom Italia.
Orange Marine and Elettra are specialized in marine activities related to submarine cables, from the design and engineering phase up to the installation of regional or intercontinental links and the maintenance of existing cables.
Orange Marine and Elettra represent 15% of the installation and maintenance of the submarine cables market, their cable ships have laid more than 220,000 km of optical fiber cables and have carried out nearly 550 repairs, some of which at a depth of more than 5,500 meters.