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 the Raymond Croze.
With C/S Pierre de Fermat commissioned 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. ■