NEPTUNE Canada achieves world-first subsea repair job

When there’s a power failure in our neighbourhoods we know that hydro crews will repair the problem as quickly as possible. But what happens when there’s a massive power outage on the world’s largest subsea cabled network? How do you fix something that extends hundreds of kilometres into the deep ocean?

On Sept. 20 a faulty connection caused a complete shutdown of the NEPTUNE Canada ocean network, part of UVic’s Ocean Networks Canada Observatory. Within 24 hours, engineers had traced the problem to the Folger node site near Bamfield. They then rerouted power and data from the rest of the network to flow in the opposite direction around the 800-km loop while arrangements were made to get a ship to the site.

In late November, a repair mission successfully replaced the faulty branching unit using a remotely operated vehicle. All instruments on the network are now back online.

“Faults such as this are to be expected on subsea cable networks, and they underscore the pioneering nature of our work,” says Dr. Kate Moran, director of NEPTUNE Canada. “Experience gained from this repair will be shared with builders of similar systems all over the world.”


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Keywords: neptune, canada, subsea, repairs

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