E-marine links Qatar and UAE

E-marine has completed a submarine cable project that will serve as a prime enabler of Qatar’s future growth in telecommunications and higher education.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  December 22, 2004

E-marine, the marine subsidiary of Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat), has announced the successful completion of a submarine cable project that will serve as a prime enabler of Qatar’s future growth in telecommunications and higher education. The new fibre optic cable will function as the prime connector for future internet use in Qatar, and will allow for the rapid expansion of major projects such as the recently-announced Education City. The cable is the second submarine voice and data link between the two countries. It will provide sufficient capacity for almost unlimited expansion of internet usage in Qatar over the 25-year life of the cable. Omar Jassim Bin Kalban, CEO of e-marine, noted that the project spanned approximately 200 kilometres of the seabed in two separate legs between the two countries. The first leg connected Doha with the Qatari island of Halul, approximately 100 kilometres off the coast. The second link was laid from Halul to Das Island in the UAE. “This is a very shallow area of the Gulf that has a high concentration of marine traffic and offshore oil platforms. We were very pleased that our ship CS Etilalat and its crew were able to complete the link without incident within 12 days — an excellent achievement,” says Kalban. The project was a joint cooperation between e-marine and Qatar Telecom (Q-Tel), with e-marine the successful bidder on the contract that made it responsible for the necessary marine survey and the actual laying of the cable. This is one of four projects that e-marine has now recently completed or has underway, including an important new international subsea link; the SEA-ME-WE 4 link, which will run from France, through the Mediterranean and Red Sea to Singapore and Perth, Australia. The company owns and operates three cable ships ranging up 13,200 tonnes and 145m in length. The largest of these, the CS Niwa, was purchased earlier this year with the SEA-ME-WE 4 cable project as a prime factor in the acquisition. Etisalat established the e-marine subsidiary in 1984. At the time, the company’s prime purpose was to link the offshore islands of the UAE with the mainland as a means of furthering the social development of the young country. From this time, it was recognised that there was a need for a viable submarine cable laying company in the Gulf, if major international connections to Europe and the Far East were to be established and maintained. E-marine is actively pursuing more projects both worldwide and in the Gulf. The company is active in the maintenance of cables serving the offshore petrochemical industry, and has developed an acknowledged expertise in the complex seamanship and technical skills necessary to lay and maintain submarine cables in and around the many oil platforms on the seabed. When laying submarine cable, the ships utilise a sophisticated computer system, or Dynamic Positioning System, to link engines with thrusters to ensure the ship’s movement and location is exactly where it must be to avoid undue tension on the submarine cable. Fibre optic communication cables are sensitive to damage and the ship’s position is maintained within very narrow limits, despite wind, currents and wave action. With these positioning systems, each of e-marine’s cable ships is capable of maintaining its exact position while laying cable to within half a metre. E-marine has now laid more than 20,000 kilometres of submarine cables, and has established itself as the leader in the maintenance and laying of submarine cables in the Gulf of Arabia, Red Sea, and western Indian Ocean.

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