Equipment to secure GPL’s submarine cable not available locally

- short-term measures implemented

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As a result of frequent damage to the Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) 69kV submarine cable linking the Kingston and Vreed-en-Hoop substations, the company will be sourcing suitable dredging equipment to bury the cable deeper.

The cable was damaged on Friday last by a vessel traversing the Demerara River; it was also damaged twice in 2019.

In a statement on Tuesday, GPL said to avoid future recurrences, “the decisive solution would be to bury the cable to a suitable depth to cater for an ultimate channel draught of 10 meters.”

However, the power company said suitable dredging equipment is not available locally.

“To achieve this would require suitable dredging equipment capable of not only operating to the required depth but to be able to cut the hard coropina (clay) that is being encountered in the channel (riverbed),” according to the statement.

The company is now looking to source the equipment. This decision was made at a meeting with the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) and on “Measures to Prevent Reoccurrence of Vessels Damaging GPL’s 69kV Submarine Cable.”

In the meantime, MARAD has agreed to the following short-term preventative measures; the first three, of which, would be done immediately:

1) Create an additional 200m buffer zone on either side of the cable crossing and to publish the necessary notification to Mariners – This should enable additional time for intervention should a vessel break its moorings.

2) Reinforce the existing regulation on bridge watch – Vessels moored at the assigned mooring points are required to have an Officer on watch continuously.

3) GPL will be incorporated into the policing loop utilizing its around the clock security presence at Kingston that overlooks the cable crossing. Relevant information will be shared with GPL’s security personnel via radio and telephone to facilitate this endeavour.

4) Tugs will be engaged that can intervene should a vessel require assistance – This initiative would not be implemented immediately but eventually and would serve multiple purposes.

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