Global Marine has been contracted to undertake a submarine fibre optic cable recovery in the Southern North Sea, spanning from the 15m water depth contour in France to the 15m water depth contour in the UK.
Ulysses South Cable Recovery Map
The CS Wave Sentinel departed Portland, UK on the 28th August 2017, at the beginning of the next neap tide window.
The cable was recovered from 51°00.2296’N 1°53.9819’E in France to 51°08.7334’N 1°23.9775’E in the UK.
The operation was due to run approximately until 9th September depending on weather or any other operational conditions, but was actually completed ahead of time on 6th September.
Adapted from: Kingfisher
ANALYSIS: The Ulysses submarine cable system is operated by a consortium of Verizon, formerly known as MCI Worldcom, BT, Orange, and KPN. The system was built in 1997 and consists of two physically diverse segments, both unrepeatered. It consists of 24 fiber pairs and was originally designed to operate with 2.5 Gbit/s wavelength technology. The Southern cable connects Calais, France to St. Margaret’s Bay, Dover, UK while the Northern cable connects Ijmuiden, Netherlands to Lowestoft, UK. These submarine segments are actually part of a much larger Anglo-European terrestrial fiber network (see below):
Ulysses Network Map
The Southern submarine segment of the Ulysses system first suffered a cable cut close to the St. Margaret’s Bay landing in May 2007. Global Marine advised at the time that the cable was loose and drifting from its as laid position but intimated that a repair operation was being planned. However, the repair never took place and it is this segment which has now been recovered. To the best of JRC’s knowledge, the Ulysses North Cable remains operational.
Given the numerous submarine cables which now connect mainland Europe to Great Britain, the loss of Ulysses South would not have been significant from an operational point of view. Given the availability of many more alternative paths operating with more modern technology and a lower cost base, the consortium members probably decided that their investment in the cable was already a sunk cost and did not merit the cost of repair.
Julian Rawle, Author
Thought leadership articles and commentary on developments related to the subsea fibre optic cable industry can be found here.