Case Study

Global Marine installs the most northerly fibre optic cable system in the world

Uninett Svalbard

Global Marine System Limited completed the installation of the most northerly subsea cable system in the world, which will service the research community of Ny-Ålesund in Svalbard, Norway. The installation was completed in October 2014.

The research station supports earth and life scientists and is part of an international research community. Global Marine had previously been involved with the installation from Svalbard archipelago to the Norwegian mainland now extending the system further into the Arctic Circle.

The scope this time was to connect a research facility in Ny-Ålesund to the main town of Longyearbyen via two cables providing redundancy to the network if required.

Global Marine used multi-role DPS-2 Cable Innovator to install the system and the Hi-Plough to complete subsea operations.

Project overview

• Vessel: Cable Innovator
• Location: Arctic Ocean
• Length: 500km
• Subsea Equipment: Hi-Plough

Cable Innovator

The shore end installation at Ny-Ă…lesund

Services provided

Global Marine provided an end-to-end solution to the customer from initial surveys through to the installation of the fibre optic cable system, including:
• Desk survey
• Route engineering
• Pre-lay grapnel run and route clearance
• Shore end installation
• Deep water operations
• Post project reporting


Cable Innovator successfully completed the installation despite the difficult environmental conditions using its Hi-Plough burial capability, installing shore ends at both Ny-Ålesund and Longyearbyen.

Cable Innovator, the purpose built DPS-2 cable ship was used to install the system, she has a track record of working in subsea engineering projects around the globe with experience of both transatlantic installations as well as operations providing platform to platform fibre connectivity for the oil & gas market in the North Sea.

Global Marine’s range of Hi-Ploughs meet the demand for deeper burial, and represent the latest in deepwater plough technology, operating to a depth of 2,000 metres. Each Hi-Plough has 500kW of jetting power to reduce the active tow tensions and can be fitted with either a 2 metre plough share or a 3.25 metre injector share. 

The Challenge

Global Marine installed the subsea cable in some of the most challenging weather conditions experienced during an installation; the team were faced with freezing winds, driving snow and ice bergs not to mention drops in temperatures to -10°c during the project.

The location of the project presented numerous hurdles. Lack of satellite coverage due the high latitude made communications more difficult, limited means of transport meant logistics of getting people and equipment to and from the island and between the landing sites needed to be very well planned, and of course the impact of the ever changing extreme arctic climate.

The picture opposite shows the shore end installation at Ny-Ålesund.

"It has been a pleasure to work with Global Marine during this project. The installation period on board Cable Innovator clearly demonstrated to us that we were working with a very professional, flexible crew on all levels. I would also like to mention the beach team who assisted in getting the cables through the HDD ducts safely."
Helge Stranden
Project Manager, Uninett

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