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The reality of divers installing and repairing underwater cables, essential to our communications and global energy supply

Written by Bruno Teles
Published 22/04/2024 às 13:38
The reality of divers installing and repairing underwater cables, essential to our communications and global energy supply
Behind the scenes of repairing submarine cables, a task that mixes high technology and extreme risk. Photo: Disclosure/MJ

Specialized divers brave extreme conditions under the sea to repair and install underwater cables that are crucial for global communication and power transmission, providing the infrastructure needed to connect the world, even in remote and isolated locations.

Submarine cables form the backbone of global communications and power transmission, stretching more than 1.370.000 kilometers across the world's oceans. Installing and maintaining these cables requires not only advanced technical skills, but also exceptional courage and physical resistance.

Recently, the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland faced a significant energy crisis when one of these vital cables was damaged. The repair task was entrusted to ESB International, who employed specialist divers to repair the cable without bringing the 500 MW connectors to the surface. This work required the use of a special underwater repair habitat designed to allow divers to work in a dry environment despite being surrounded by ocean waters.

The work of submarine cable divers is full of challenges

The work of submarine cable divers is full of challenges. They need to be trained intensively, not only to deal with the physical pressure and hazards of the underwater environment, but also to operate complex equipment in extreme conditions. Divers often live in specialized pressure chambers before and after missions to avoid decompression illnesses.

In addition to the repair, installing these cables is also a feat of engineering

In addition to the repair, installing these cables is also a feat of engineering. Company like Boskalis Subsea uses specially designed ships with flat hulls and cable laying turntables that allow for precise laying of cables on the seabed. Techniques such as using mobile plows to bury cables in shallow water are essential to protect vital infrastructure from damage.

The skill and courage of divers

Each cable repaired or installed not only strengthens global infrastructure, but also ensures that remote and isolated regions, such as the Aran Islands, remain connected and energized. The skill and courage of submarine cable divers ensure that the superstructure that supports our global communication and power continues to function without interruption.

The work of repairing and installing submarine cables is one of the most challenging and vital professions in the modern world. It requires a unique combination of courage, skill and technological innovation, showing the true meaning of work under pressure.

Have you ever imagined what it's like to work hundreds of meters below the sea surface? Comment below your impressions about life and the challenges faced by these divers.

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Bruno Teles

I talk about technology, innovation, oil and gas. I update daily about opportunities in the Brazilian market. Agenda suggestion? Send it to brunotelesredator@gmail.com

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