Ship’s anchor damaged GPL submarine cable


The Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc. has determined that a ship’s anchor has damaged its submarine cable connecting the Kingston, Georgetown with Vreed-en-hoop, West Bank Demerara substations.

Public Infrastructure Minister told the News Room on Thursday that “based on the damage we saw, the most probable cause will be the anchor of a large ship, one of the ocean going vessels would have dropped anchor there.”

The company said with assistance from contracted deep-water divers, it retrieved approximately 714 metres of the cable and upon investigation, it was found that the armor and insulation protection of the cable bore damages.

Minister Patterson explained that the location of the cable was previously one of the three anchoring points for large vessels, however, ships can no longer traverse this area since the cable was installed in 2012.

“Obviously something went amiss,” Patterson said.

Patterson said pictures have shown that not just one spot on the cable was damaged so “the anchor would have gripped the cable and pull [so] it was quite longer than you would expect.”

The cable was damaged on Sunday last, cutting the transfer of 14 megawatts of power from the Vreed-en-hoop, West Bank Demerara to the Kingston, Georgetown substation.

As such, GPL was forced to embark on load shedding which saw customers facing up to eight hours of blackout daily.

GPL officials on Wednesday expressed concerns about the location of the submarine cable in the country’s busiest shipping ports.

Patterson said that was a poor engineering decision and as a result, the Maritime Administration cannot dredge the river to a certain depth.

The cable was installed in March 2012 by China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC) as part of a US$5 million project for the upgrade of GPL’s transmission and distribution systems.

CMC is the company responsible for its maintenance.

The power company on Wednesday told the media that it will be working to install a duplicate submarine cable from Wales on the West Bank of Demerara to Garden of Eden on the East Bank of Demerara to address the frequent damage to the current cable.

According to Patterson, the Government is also looking to add a cable tray on the side of the new Demerara River crossing to run the GPL Cable.

The company also said it will be utilising its low voltage cable and moving two smaller generator units to its Kingston Sub-station until the damaged cable is fixed.

Chief Executive Officer, Albert Gordon said on Wednesday that the process will take weeks. The cost has not yet been determined but the last time the cable was damaged, it took over $100M to fix.

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