Planning the deployment of a subsea cable

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Reliance on technology and communication networks continues to grow globally, requiring investments in support infrastructure and auxiliary services.

Subsea cables have been required for decades as global communication and more recently internet services have grown in capacity around the world. Key to enabling these developments is the laying of further cable networks in increasingly challenging areas.

The subsea cable process is a complicated task, and one that has taken decades of research and development to complete. Even to this day, the skills and equipment required to undertake the laying process of an ocean cable are limited to a select few operators.

Subsea survey work

Prior to vessels being deployed to physically lay the cables, several steps must be undertaken by both the company requiring the services and the cable laying operator. Firstly, route surveying needs to be carefully undertaken, specific to the location.

During the survey operations, ocean and seabed conditions are examined, and a comprehensive assessment performed of where the cables will enter and exit the ocean.

Before permitting can begin, cable routing is undertaken to assess the final path of the cable. The survey and routing processes will significantly minimize the risk of installation, and secure the long-term viability of the subsea cable.

The permitting process

As laying a cable has the potential to disrupt the operations of other cables or institutions sharing the waters, permitting is required for rights of way, cable crossings and fisheries agencies. The permitting process can take several months, during which ample information must be supplied to various organisations and agencies.

Following extensive planning and permitting - as well as cable testing and construction - the physical laying process can begin.

Global Marine Systems has a comprehensive background in engineering and underwater services. We provide fibre-based data networks for oil & gas and telecommunications cable systems, continually leading in subsea cable network design and engineering around the world.

For more information on subsea cable installation, maintenance and burial requirements, contact Global Marine Systems today at


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