Vocus $100M Submarine Cable – Photo gallery

On deck in the Indian Ocean with Vocus’ new $100M submarine cable

As the sun rises over the horizon, the crew of cable ship Ile De Re are already hard at work, prepping for the day’s mission: starting the rollout of a $100M submarine fibre optic cable for Australia’s specialist fibre and network solutions provider Vocus.

They’re about to embark on the task of recovering an existing fibre cable laid seven years ago off the coast of Port Hedland, WA, to join it to a new 1,000KM cable being transported on the ship.

The specialist team lowers a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) to the seabed, receiving a live visual feed on the deck. They confirm the identity of the cable, pick it up underwater and raise it to deck, complete with barnacles and seaweed streaming off it.

With the cable now in hand, the crew analyses it to ensure it’s still completely watertight inside. To their relief, it is – the cable-end seal has held well. The submarine fibre optic specialists cut into and then strip back the multiple armoured layers to reveal the hair-thin fibre optic cable inside.

The crew splices the fibre optic cable to the end of the new cable being transported in the hull of the vessel. Hours later, after carefully rebuilding the armoured seal around the cable joint and applying a strong metal capsule around the joined ends, it’s time for the cable lay to begin. The crew starts spooling the cable off the ship and onto the seabed.

Once the crew is confident the ship is well clear of any other existing cable systems, it starts ploughing, burying the new cable 1m deep. This provides extra protection against wayward ships’ anchors that might damage the infrastructure in the years ahead.

The vessel now continues its 1,000KM course to the Australia Singapore Cable, laying at depths of up to 2.5KM.

Here, the new cable will be joined to an existing underwater branching unit, forming the new link that will bring the North-West Cable System and Australia Singapore Cable.

Together, the cables will form the final section of the $500M Darwin-Jakarta-Singapore Cable system connecting Perth, Darwin, Port Hedland, Christmas Island, Indonesia, and Singapore, due for completion mid-2023. It will provide the first direct international connection out of Darwin – unlocking it as a major new data hub for the Asia-Pacific.

Click here to read more about the rollout of the final $100M segment of Vocus' Darwin-Jakarta-Singapore Cable system.

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Vocus’ new $100M cable on the move in Optic Marine’s cable laying vessel Ile de Re, commissioned by Alcatel Submarine Networks who Vocus have commissioned to build the cable.
Image: Vocus/Salty Davenport.

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The remotely operated underwater vehicle lowered off the side of the cable ship Ile de Re to the seabed to pick up Vocus’ existing fibre optic cable laid seven years ago.
Image: Vocus/Peter Barr.

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That’s what millions of dollars worth of armoured fibre optic submarine cable looks like before it’s laid out on the seabed. Crew member included for scale!
Image: Vocus/Salty Davenport.

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The giant rotating cable drums on the Ile de Re used to dispense the cable from the ship while maintaining the right tension on the cable.
Image: Vocus/Salty Davenport.

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The plough used to bury the cable a metre under the seabed. The plough blade is the brown part on the centre left of the machine, and the fibre optic cable is the black and white striped line running from right to left.
Image: Vocus/Peter Barr

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Vocus’ new $100M cable segment will form a 1000km link between the existing Australia-Singapore Cable and the North-West Cable System. The overall Darwin-Jakarta-Singapore system will be 7700KM long and provide the first direct international connectivity out of Darwin. It’s due for completion in mid-2023.

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Contact us

For more information please provide your details in the form below, contact your Vocus Account Manager, or call us on 1800 035 540.