Submarine Cable Manufacture and Delivery
Mark Mooney – Resident Engineer, Hawar Island Submarine Cable Project, ESB International
The ESB International Project Team, working on behalf of our esteemed client, the Electricity & Water Authority, Bahrain (EWA), were gifted an early present ahead of the holidays when the Hawar Island Submarine Cable Project reached a significant milestone at the end of November 2021. The appointed submarine cable manufacturer, LS Cable & System (LSC), commenced shipment of the first batch of cables and accessories for the project. This batch included two of the three submarine cables and their associated accessories.
Cable Manufacture and Testing Procedure
The first shipment of the submarine cable came on foot of a contract awarded in February 2020 by the main contractor to LSC to manufacture and supply a total of 75 km of 66 kV XLPE (Cross-Linked Polyethylene) submarine cables. The order included three lengths of three core XLPE submarine cable, rated at 66 kV with a transfer capacity of 60 MVA each. Each cable was of continuous length without factory joints and with an integrated 48 Core Multimode Fibre Optic Cable.
After the ESB International Cables Team completed a detailed design review of the cable technical specifications, the manufacturing process commenced during the summer of 2021 at the LSC-owned factory in Donghae, South Korea.
Upon completion of the manufacturing phase, Factory Acceptance Tests (FAT) were conducted by ESB International during April/May 2021. The FAT covered a series of tests, including Type Tests and Short Circuit Tests, which would verify the quality of the proposed submarine cable system.
Shortage of Vessel Availability and Vessel Charter Party
The project was faced with a significant cable delivery challenge. The availability of suitable cable delivery vessels capable of transiting between Korea and Bahrain are few and far between due to the great demand in the market for vessels for other subsea cable projects worldwide. After a lengthy process, a dynamically positioned DP Class 2 vessel named the Willem de Vlamingh was secured for the cable transporting task. The vessel itself is designed for cable installation; however, in this case, it would be used only for cable transport and delivery.
Upon the successful charter and based on the gathered information, a detailed vessel passage plan was prepared for the Willem de Vlamingh, which covered the entire voyage, using official nautical charts and available publications. Additionally, notices to mariners and radio navigation warnings were issued to the international seafaring community and key authorities.
Cable Transloading Procedure
Prior to the cable transportation from the factory to the delivery location at Khalifa Bin Salman Port in Bahrain, several actions were completed by ESB International and the appointed Marine Warranty Surveyor (MWS).
Detailed document reviews submitted by the manufacturer
Subsea cable loading risk assessment
Seaworthiness of the vessel check
Completion of cable load-out and testing
Preparation of the vessel and mobilisation of spare cable reels and auxiliary parts
Sea fastening of the main deck equipment and cable carousel
Before the cables could leave the Donghae Port, the final step required the issue of Certificates of Approval (CoA) by the Marine Warranty Survey (MWS). The CoA was required for Loadout and the Sea fastening & Sailaway of 50 km (Circuit 1 & Circuit 2) of the 66 kV XLPE submarine cable from the LS Cable Facility to the Willem de Vlamingh Vessel and from the Port of Donghae, Korea to Kalifa Bin Salman Port, Bahrain.
The cables and accessories are currently in transit and scheduled to arrive in The Kingdom of Bahrain on the 18th of December 2021. This date is significantly dependent upon weather conditions. Upon delivery of the cables in Bahrain, the cables will be transloaded from the Willem de Vlamingh vessel into two bespoke manufactured land-side cable storage baskets. This will be done under the supervision of ESB International and the Marine Warranty Surveyor. The cables and accessories will be stored until their delivery to the cable installation site are required in Q1 2022.
The project continues to progress well, and any challenges to date have all been addressed by the Project Team. The arrival of the submarine cables in Bahrain will be a significant step forward for the project.
Keep an eye on our social media pages and website for further updates as the project advances.
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