Western HVDC Link: Out of Service Cables – Route Clearance, January 2016

[Update – the work described below has now been completed.  This notice remains as part of the historical record of notices issued for this project.  Please refer to the most recent notice for an up-to-date record of the notices presently in force for this project.  This can be accessed via the project description page here.]

Mariners are advised that as part of the Western Link Project and in preparation for the future deep water installation campaigns of the Western Link HVDC cable, route clearance operations are going to start in the Irish Sea and the North Channel and expected to be completed at the beginning of February 2016.  A Notice to Mariners advising of details of this work can be downloaded here and is summarised below.

Route Clearance Operations

The route clearance operations will involve locating and cutting through the Out of Service (OOS) cables that cross the Western Link HVDC cable route.  The cables will be located using a de-trenching grapnel, and will be cut at the seabed by a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).  The severed sections of cable will be recovered and removed from the area.  The remaining OOS cable will remain undisturbed on the seabed.

These operations will be carried out at 7 locations.  Six of these are in the North Channel, between Northern Ireland and the Mull of Galloway.  The other location is between Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.  The locations are shown in the Notice to Mariners (available here) and are listed below:-

  1. Port Kale – Whitehead Telegraph Cable: 54° 46.892’N 005° 25.590’W
  2. Donaghadeee – Port Kale No3 Telegraph Cable: 54°44.909’N 005°22.062’W
  3. Cable debris found during 2014 survey: 54°44.648’N 005°21.700’W
  4. Cable debris: 54°43.261’N 005°20.552’W
  5. Cable debris: 54°41.284’N 005°18.503’W
  6. Donaghadee – Port Kale No2 Telegraph Cable: 54°41.099’N 005°18.454’W
  7. Ballyhornan-Port Erin No3 Coaxial Cable: 54°06.943’N 005°06.588’W

After route clearance operations are complete, a final General Visual Inspection survey will be conducted at each location to confirm that the area is left in a safe condition for other marine users.

Vessel details

The route clearance work is being carried out by the vessel Go Pegasus.  Details of the vessel, along with its present location can be found on MarineTraffic.com via the link below:-

  • Go Pegasus: Tug / supply vessel | Call sign V7CE4

The vessel will be monitoring VHF Channel 16 throughout the operation.

During this work the vessel will be restricted in the ability to manoeuvre and other vessels are reminded to navigate with caution in its vicinity and to pass at a safe speed and distance.

Guard vessels

Guard vessels are stationed as appropriate along the installed cable route to ensure the safety of marine users.  There are presently 4 guard vessels on station along the cable route.  Further details of the installed cable location is available here.

Notices to Mariners

The Notices to Mariners currently issued for this project are:-

  • Route clearance, Out of Service Cables – this notice advises of work being carried out at 7 locations along the cable route to remove out of service cables that would prevent the burial of the Western HVDC Link cable.  The notice can be downloaded here.
  • Wet storage of cable – this notice advises of the surface laying of a 28km stretch of cable in temporary “wet storage” along part of the Western HVDC Link cable route.  The notice can be downloaded here .
  • Deep Water Cable Installation – this is being carried out by the vessel Giulio Verne, starting in July 2015.  The most up to date Notice to Mariners can be downloaded here.
  • Concrete mattressing – along the cable route concrete mattresses have been laid at crossings of existing cables and pipelines.  A notice to mariners about the mattressing campaign conducted earlier this year can be downloaded here.

If you have any queries about the Western Link project, please contact Jim Andrews, Fisheries Liaison Officer by e-mail or by phone on +44(0)7908-225865.

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