History

The global telecommunications cable networks are a vital component to the world's financial, political and social makeup, and it has been the job of Global Marine to engineer, install, maintain and repair those crucial networks for more than 160 years.

The company known today as Global Marine played a central role in the fascinating history of submarine telecommunication networks, having been involved in the installation of the very first cables in the 1850s.

Global Marine remains at the forefront of the subsea cable industry today, supporting not only the telecoms sector but also oil & gas customers and scientists in deep sea research.

The very first copper cable was laid between England and France on August 29, 1850 by a small paddle-driven steam tug called the Goliath, an event that marked the start of the submarine cable industry. As the Times reported: "The electric telegraph appears to us more like a miracle than any scientific discovery or mechanical achievement of our time." Unfortunately, by the following morning, the cable was no longer working. The return to port of a French fisherman bearing a new variety of "gold-centred seaweed" (having mistaken copper cable for gold) appeared to explain the failure.

The use of submarine cables for the world's communication networks has grown rapidly, to the degree that more than 95% of our data and voice communication now travels through nearly a million miles of cabling, crossing every stretch of water on the planet. The communications that are enabled by submarine telecommunications technology – namely the internet and the World Wide Web, as well as plain old telephone calls – are fundamental to both social connections and business operations.

Telecommunication networks are simply too important to fail, so their design architecture is robust and diverse, with a strong level of resiliency built into all cables. If a cable is damaged, traffic is seamlessly redirected onto an alternative route. As a result, international banking systems continue to function, social networks remain intact, and oil platforms continue to receive crucial connectivity with other platforms and with their on-shore counterparts.

In oil and gas, Global Marine supports cables between platforms by ensuring both engineering design and cable protection use the world’s most current technologies, to minimise the risk of cable fault or failure beginning with the engineering phase and continuing through the life of the cable.

In telecommunications, Global Marine supports ongoing communications through service agreements that cable owners have implemented with us, ensuring leading edge system design and engineering, with strategically positioned vessels around the world for immediate mobilisation for cable recovery and repair.

The threat to submarine cables has not changed significantly since that first "gold-centred seaweed" incident. Today 62% of all faults can be directly attributed to human activities including fishing activity and anchor damage.