GPL submarine cable will take another week to fix- Deputy CEO

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The Guyana Power and Light (GPL) company’s submarine cable, which was damaged almost three weeks ago, will take another five-six days to fix, according to Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Samaroo Ramtahal.

The submarine cable links the Kingston, Georgetown and Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara substations; it was burst on November 27 after a ship’s anchor was dropped on it in the Demerara River.

The Chinese contractors arrived in Guyana last week to fix the cable. During a visit to the location on Wednesday, the Deputy CEO said: “to date, we were struggling to lift the other end at Vreed-en-Hoop –so they’re two ends that burst –one end at Kingston we managed to raise on the barge – and we’re now working on raising the other side so we can have the Chinese company joining or slicing the cable together.”

Work ongoing to fix the damage submarine cable (Photo: GPL)

He said the contractor, with help from GPL engineers, are looking to complete the process within a week’s time. Electro-Mechanical Engineer at GPL, Kurt Baptiste, said the process is challenging due to the tide and the alignment of the cable since it was moved by the ship.

“When the cable was entangled previously with the ship anchor, it took the cable off course to the southern side, so now you know it’s very difficult because, with the tide, we have to now set the cable back in line,” he explained.

Baptiste said the casing was retrieved.

“[The contractor] will also have to run further test before dropping the cable back into the river, they would have to run further test to make sure that the cable is satisfactory and reach the required standard. Once that is reached and we’re all satisfied…we would gently release it back into the river and we will try to bury it into the river bed,” the engineer said.

Work ongoing to fix the damage submarine cable (Photo: GPL)

In the meantime, GPL said the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) was instructed not to have any ship or vessel anchor in the vicinity where the cable is located along the bank of the Demerara River.

Utilising its around the clock security, the company has also placed officers at Kingston that overlooks the cable crossing. The submarine cable across the Demerara River was damaged twice in 2019 and cost millions of dollars to fix.

In a statement last week, 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.

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