Cable ship works on GCI lines in Zimovia Strait
A specially outfitted ship with facilities to repair underwater fiber optic lines made its way up Zimovia Strait on Thursday, Jan. 10 to assist GCI in repairs to cables damaged during a 7.5 magnitude earthquake on Friday, Jan 4.
The vessel, C/L Wave Venture, began its repair operations approximately 8 miles south of downtown with work on the line leading from Ketchikan to Wrangell, which was the first of two cables affected during the quake. The ship later moved north to a point just off Heritage Harbor where it began work on the line leading from Wrangell to Petersburg.
GCI spokesman David Morris said the ship was uniquely appointed to the repair job at hand.
“The Wave Venture is a cable repair ship that is based out of Vancouver,” Morris said. “It’s basically a time-share vessel among all the users of undersea cable operators. Whenever there is a report of a cable break, they get the ship underway and head to the location of the break.”
Once in location, the vessel can use a submersible repair unit, or can bring cables to the surface.
“They arrived on scene and began using an ROV, or Remote Operated Vessel, to locate the cable,” Morris added. “The cable was submerged under some silt, so they then continued to try to retract the cable. They also used grapple hooks to bring the cable to the surface.”
Once the cable was brought up, technicians buoyed both ends and brought the lines into a splice bay where it was reconnected, tested and laid on the seafloor once again.
Closer to home, during the ship’s operations, GCI technicians were on dry land near the KSTK antenna array at the point where the redundant fiber optic cables come ashore and provide Internet, phone and cable television service to the Borough.