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26 May, 2006 - 09:34 By Staff Reporter

Japanese tsunami SOS answered

Chelmsford-based Global Marine Systems has taken its subsea cable expertise to one of the world’s most earthquake-prone nations to carry out repair work on a crucial Tsunami early warning systems.

The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) hired Global Marine Systems and NTT World Engineering Marine – a seven-year old joint venture between NTT and Global Marine – to complete the repair of a tsunami seismic monitoring cable.

Japan has considerable exposure to tsunamis because of the high incidence of earthquakes and JAMSTEC’s deep sea floor observatories form a critical part of the Japanese Government’s wider coastal earthquake observation network.

In early 2006, JAMSTEC’s long-term deep sea floor observatory off Muroto Cape on Japan’s east coast experienced a cable failure on one of its seismometer monitoring systems, which act as listening devices to help provide an early warning of tsunami activity.

As the integrated observation system at Muroto Cape is designed for continuous observation of tsunami activity, it is critical that the system works at all times. Global Marine and NTTWEM were called in to conduct the rapid repair operation fast and from initial inspection to post repair testing, the project was completed in just 11 days.

NTTWEM worked on Global Marine’s CS Wave Mercury cable ship with its specialist crew, so it could inspect and repair the cable at a depth of approximately 2,000 metres.

Tsuyoshi Komori at NTTWEM said: “The Muroto Cape continues to be a highly active region for tsunami activity and the observatory therefore plays a pivotal role in providing the Japanese mainland with an early warning of earthquakes and enables JAMSTEC to collate scientific data which will have long term benefits for the whole of Japan.

“Due to our joint venture structure with Global Marine, we were able to pool both our knowledge of the region and cabling expertise to provide an effective solution and hope to be able to work again with JAMSTEC in the future.”

NTT World Engineering Marine Corporation is an NTT group company which spun out from NTT Corporate under its own identity in 1998.

A year later Global Marine Systems became a shareholder and the alliance has since worked to take on major international projects.

Headquartered in the UK and with offices in Asia and USA, Global Marine is an independent marine engineering company, which has been in business for well over 150 years.

It operates the world’s largest fleet of cable ships and subsea vehicles. It is a market leader in marine cable installation and maintenance for telecommunications, as well as scientific research, oil, gas, utilities and the renewable energy sector.

In November 2005 Global Marine installed the fibre optic cabling for Canada’s most advanced interactive seafloor observatory as part of the VENUS (Victoria Experim-ental Network Under The Sea) project.

In all, it has installed more undersea fibre optic cables than any other operator, and more than 50 per cent of the world’s buried fibre-optic cables have been installed by Global Marine.

Between 30 and 40 per cent of all subsea cables repairs and maintenance are undertaken by the company.

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