Orange launches new subsea cable vessel


The ship is set to replace a vessel that has been in service since 1983 

Orange Marine, the subsidiary of French telco group Orange that specialises in submarine cable operations, is launching a new ship dedicated to the maintenance and repair of critical subsea cables.  

The ship, named the ‘Sophie Germain’, is 100 metres in length and includes a 450 kW ROV (remotely operated vehicle) that is used to cut, inspect, and bury the fibre optic cable that is stored on board. 

Orange claim that their new “state-of-the-art” ship will bring a “new era of sustainability in the subsea cable and broader network industry”, using less fuel than previous models I and emitting 20% less carbon dioxide and82% less nitrogen oxide. 

“It is with great pride that we inaugurate today the Sophie Germain, a new generation cable ship,” said Christel Heydemann, CEO of Orange, in a press release. 

“Through this launch, the Orange group reaffirms its central role in the laying and maintenance of submarine cables, a little-known industry and yet an essential base for the development of connectivity around the world. At the cutting-edge of technology and thanks to a reduced environmental footprint, the Sophie Germain contributes to the Group’s sustainable innovation approach to respond to the major challenges of our time.” 

Orange is a major player in the subsea cable industry, with its ships having installed 257,000 km of submarine fibre optic cables and made over 800 repairs, as of the end of 2023. 

The launch of new cable ships in the subsea industry is a rarity. There are only around 60 cable ships in the world designed for the deployment and maintenance of subsea cables. 

There were only five new vessels launched since 2004, and 19 of the ships currently in use are over 30 years old. New ships can often cost over $100 million to develop, with many operators choosing to repurpose older vessels to save costs. 

Before the deployment of the ‘Sophie Germain’, Orange Marine’s last new ship was the Pierre de Fermat in 2014.

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