Cable ship docks

Etisalat’s cable ship, the Niwa, has docked at Port Zayed in Abu Dhabi ahead of the SMW4 project, which it will begin in September this year.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  July 6, 2004

The vessel will lay part of the SMW4 (Southeast Asia, Middle East and Western Europe) cable project awarded to e-marine by Alcatel Submarine Networks earlier this year. The 20,000 km, $500 million link will carry phone, internet and broadband data. “SMW4 will provide unprecedented high-speed telecom links between 14 countries from Singapore to France and will contribute to narrowing the digital divide between developed and developing countries”, says Omar Jassim Bin Kalban, CEO of e-marine. “This project demonstrates e-marine’s strong capabilities and presence in the international arena,” he adds. The Niwa is one of the largest cable laying vessels in the world and is capable of carrying more than 6,000 tons of cables. It is equipped with the latest technology including a dynamic positioning system. The vessel has arrived at Mina Zayed to prepare for simulation exercises scheduled to take place between July and September 2004. “A team of experienced e-marine staff will operate the ship and handle the implementation of this massive project,” says Bin Kalban. “The ship will eventually lay more than 5,500km of submarine cable stretching from Mumbai, through Karachi, Fujairah and Jeddah to Suez,” he adds. The SMW4, Segment 2 project work also includes associated activities such as burial, post lay inspection and route clearance. The cable is expected to become operational in the third quarter of 2005 and will be able to handle 20 million voice calls, or 60,000 broadcast television channels simultaneously. “We are also expecting more projects in the region and are in the process of preparing to meet the advances and technological challenges that will take place in the industry in the years to come,” says Bin Kalban. The Cable Depot in Abu Dhabi occupies 2000 sq meters and is equipped with huge capacity for repeaters and spares and a laboratory and fibre optics workshop, forklifts, hauling machines and ancillary equipment.

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