One of the oldest and most well-known maritime superstitions was that bringing women aboard a vessel was bad luck. Fortunately all that has now changed, and we’re firm believers in supporting growing diversity across our workforce across the globe.

We spoke to one of our Chief Officers, Kaya Teare, about life offshore as a woman, playing a critical role onboard a submarine cable ship.

Kaya is one of our fantastic crew members, currently serving onboard the C.S. Sovereign in Portland, England. She has eight years of qualified experience on cable repair and maintenance vessels with Global Marine. She has previously served as a Third Officer, Second Officer, and Deputy Offshore Installation Manager (DOIM) and plans to obtain her master’s ticket in 2024.

After completing her honors degree in navigation and maritime science, Kaya Teare took to the seas to work on cable repair and installation vessels. Having moved up the ranks from Deck Cadet to Chief Office, she is a strong advocate for reducing the gender gap and including women in all teams and departments, especially at senior levels.

As seafaring is conventionally a “man’s world,” many women fear taking it up as profession. What made you choose to enter this industry, and in particular, the submarine cable industry?

I have always lived by the sea and near ports. I was born in Osaka, Japan, a major port, and grew up in Peel, Isle of Man, a fishing town. I enjoyed kayaking, camping, and sailing as a teenager and was looking for my next adventure. When I was 18, I was ready to leave the island, travel, and live independently. I initially thought I would take a year out to travel and work as a stewardess on a superyacht. My friends and family asked me why I wanted to be a stewardess, and I quickly realised I didn’t.

I started researching jobs at sea / cadetships and decided I wanted to be a deck officer. I liked the sound of a course that would have a year in industry, learning how to navigate, being sponsored, and coming out with a professional qualification to start my career. When I was applying for sponsorship, I wanted to work on cable ships because they sail worldwide, have many personnel onboard, and don’t complete routine passages.

I don’t come from a family of mariners and didn’t know anyone working at sea before I started. I didn’t consider that I would be the only women in lectures / courses or onboard the vessels. I was always surprised and wondered why more women didn’t want to do this as a career. With hindsight, I don’t think women fear taking it up as a profession: I think they don’t consider it an option. I was lucky enough to have people around me that questioned me and helped me realize that there are more opportunities for women at sea

The C.S. Sovereign completing operations in the Scottish highlands

The maritime world is a place where different cultures, people, and religions mix. Submarine cables systems are often landing in countries that pose additional challenges for being a woman onboard the installation vessel. How did you manage to work in this environment and be accepted?

I grew up with two different cultures, as I am half Japanese and half Manx. I have always enjoyed working with people of different cultures and backgrounds. It is interesting to see how different cultures range in their working methods and how they approach situations. I see it as an opportunity to learn and see something from a different perspective. I never expect to be accepted and respect others people’s views. I think simply by being there and doing what I do, it will show people who have never seen women working at sea before that it is possible. I think this is the best way of showcasing what women at sea can do.

Do you see that this industry is changing, being more open to female crew members? Or will a female crew member be always an exception?

I have seen many positive changes in the industry, especially in the last three years. I now regularly sail with other women, whereas in the past, I was mostly the only woman onboard. Also in recent years, personnel with strong traditional opinions have retired and more personnel accepting of all genders are onboard cable ships.

I genuinely feel the company and my colleagues have given me equal opportunity and fully supported me. There are, of course, some characters who are not as accepting, but I have found over time they adjust to the change that they are not used to seeing. I believe over time being a woman at sea will not be a novelty. There is room for more women to work at sea, and they should feel we

Chelmsford, 8 March 2023. Global Marine, a market leader in subsea fibre optic cable installation including cable data and route engineering as well as cable maintenance and Universal Joint technology, has marked the delivery of its 80th ‘DXr1’ digital X-Ray camera to the market.

When introduced a decade ago, the DXr1 camera, used to inspect the integrity of submarine cable joints following jointing and repair operations, eliminated the need for film technology. This had immediate environmental and operational cost saving benefits, with film plates and chemicals no longer being shipped across the world or disposed of and is just one of the small ways in which Global Marine is looking at more sustainable operations.

The digital radiograph images produced by the DXr1 are available instantly allowing assessment to commence right away, in more detail than before and from anywhere in the world, saving around 75% in time spent compared to the more traditional film methods.  In an industry where project delays can cost tens of thousands of dollars per day as vessels remain on standby for extended periods, time savings like this are crucial. The evaluation record and original images, retained electronically, negate the need for archiving and preservation of film plates.

Bruce Neilson-Watts, CEO of Global Marine Group said, “We’re proud that our digital X-Ray camera continues to be at the forefront of technology supporting the maintenance of the world’s critical telecommunications infrastructure. In the 10 years since we developed the camera, we have supplied 80 of these to customers around the world. And there’s no greater endorsement than our customers, the key players in the telecom industry, continuing to return time and again to supply multiple vessels in their fleet with our technology.”

The 80th unit was delivered to a cable installation vessel currently installing a trans-Pacific system, and has already completed joint X-Rays on its first project. Global Marine have an additional five DXr1 cameras on order, for delivery to customers early in 2023.

Global Marine has completed the initial subsea fibre-optic cable route survey scope for the Scottish Government’s Reaching 100% Programme (R100), being delivered by Openreach on behalf of BT. The project covers inter-island connections between Orkney, Shetland, and the Inner Hebrides as well as two connections back to the Scottish mainland.

The Scottish Government-funded R100 project aspires to extend superfast broadband capabilities at speeds of at least 30Mbps to every premises in Scotland.

Utilising the extensive subsea knowledge of our sister company OceanIQ, also part of the Global Marine Group, and specialist service provider Fugro, the cable route surveys are now complete, ahead of the 16-route cable lay. The fibre optic cable installation is scheduled to commence early in 2022 and will be delivered by Global Marine’s multi-purpose vessel, Normand Clipper.

Three survey vessels were mobilised on the project to complete specific scopes of geophysical and geotechnical survey work along the different cable routes. The scope of work also included an Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) assessment. As well as land survey activities, an aerial lidar survey was conducted to acquire topographical and inter-tidal survey data and photogrammetry.

Bruce Neilson-Watts, Managing Director of Global Marine said: “We are pleased that this initial stage of the project is almost complete. The diverse elements of the subsea survey data will combine together to give a rich and detailed picture of the seabed environment and shallow soils regime, providing essential information to deliver this high-profile project safely and effectively for the long-term benefit of many of Scotland’s residents.”

Mr Neilson-Watts continued: “With 16 routes throughout the Northern and Western Isles of Scotland, there has been great cooperation between our survey teams and local fisheries, and other users of the sea to ensure safe and efficient working, with minimal disruption to all stakeholders.”

Clive Downing, R100 Programme Director, Scottish Government said: “We recently announced the start of build for Scottish Government’s R100 North contract area, where 16 new subsea cables will be laid to provide superfast broadband access to some of the hardest-to-reach areas.

“As a result of the R100 North contract many homes and business will benefit from full fibre broadband, far exceeding our superfast commitment and providing future-proofed full fibre connectivity to some of the most rural and remote communities in Scotland. This is something that will make a huge difference to both residents and businesses as we continue to work, learn and access public services remotely.”

“Fugro and Global Marine have successfully mapped out the subsea routes through complex underwater and overhead surveys and this work is the first step in connecting islanders to faster broadband. I look forward to hearing about subsea progress in the upcoming months.”

Robert Thorburn, Openreach partnership director for Scotland, added: “R100 is a hugely important project and the subsea build is both complex and sensitive. Over this summer, our specialist partners, led by Global Marine, have used innovation and technology – in the air and on land and sea – to gather the extensive, in-depth knowledge we need to design the full fibre network to more islands.”

Five-year extension runs to end of 2022

Chelmsford, [Wednesday 3rd January 2018] Global Marine, a market leader in subsea fibre optic cable installation and maintenance solutions to the telecoms and oil & gas sectors and part of the Global Marine Group (GMG), announced today that its maintenance contract with SEAIOCMA (South East Asia and Indian Ocean Cable Maintenance Agreement) has been extended for five-years, running to the end of 2022.

The SEAIOCMA maintenance zone agreement, which is a co-operative club managed by 46 cable owners, provides the repair of submarine cables that carry international telecommunications traffic. SEAIOCMA spans the area between Djibouti in the west, Perth in the south, Guam in the east and the northern tip of Taiwan. This is the third and final of Global Marine’s three long-term maintenance contracts renewed since the beginning of 2016 (NAZ (North America Zone) announced March 2016 and ACMA (Atlantic Cable Maintenance Agreement) announced January 2017).

Under the terms of the extended contract, which came into effect on 1 January 2018, and expires on 31 December 2022, Global Marine will provide a newly constructed depot in Subic Bay, Philippines. The new depot will continue to serve as the base of Global Marine’s vessel the Cable Retriever, a purpose-designed cable ship equipped with a 600 horsepower ROV (remote operated vehicle), capable of burying cable up to three metres below the sea bed and mobilising within 24 hours of a call-out. The Cable Retriever is operated by experienced and fully trained personnel and features specialist equipment.

Global Marine has been providing maintenance services continuously to SEAIOCMA since its inception in 1986 and has completed more than 600 repairs. During that time the network has expanded from 34,000 km of cable maintained to encompass more than 111,000 km. The extension of the SEAIOCMA agreement demonstrates continued customer recognition of Global Marine’s reliability in support of long-term contracts, and its ability to deliver leading subsea maintenance to customers around the world.

“There is no greater endorsement of your success than a contract extension from an existing customer,” said Bruce Neilson-Watts, Managing Director of Global Marine.  “SEAIOCMA has again placed confidence in our capabilities, primarily because we provide certainty and minimise disruption.  Over our long and successful history, Global Marine has proved time and time again that we are both resilient and flexible enough to provide new solutions that aid future market development.”

Global Marine currently delivers support in three of the world’s six cable maintenance zone agreements. Combined with its joint venture, SBSS, Global Marine maintains 33 percent of fibre optic cable lying across the world’s ocean floor. In the past five years the Company has achieved 99.7 percent of the contractual KPIs across all of its maintenance agreements.

Global Marine Group (GMG) has launched a new Safety, Security and Environmental Management System (SSEMS).

The system has been organised, planned and implemented by GMG to ensure the safety and operational excellence of its people and assets, as well as to safeguard the environment. Structured to meet the requirements of the Offshore Vessel Management and Self-Assessment (OVMSA) programme. Along with the stipulations set out in the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, the new SSEMS enhances the Company’s regulatory compliance and supports the continual evolution of industry standards.

Safety is the number one priority at GMG, Global Marine and CWind, and we are proud to have completed 1.65 million working hours in 2016 without a single injury, a remarkable achievement given the potentially hazardous environments in which our people and assets operate.

As well as OVMSA and the ISM Code, the new SSEMS supports GMG’s status as an active member of the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA); staff from the Company’s RQHSE (Risk Quality Health Safety & Environment) team sit on IMCA’s HSSE (Health, Safety, Security & Environment) committee. GMG is also proud to hold the Order of Distinction, an honour bestowed by RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) on organisations achieving a minimum of 15 consecutive Gold Awards (GMG has 18). Gold Awards are presented in recognition of outstanding occupational health and safety standards.

CS Recorder will Support Telecoms Customers with Installation Projects Across the Globe

Global Marine Systems Limited, the world leader in subsea cable systems design, installation and maintenance, announced today the addition of the 6,200 ton cable deadweight CS Recorder to its existing fleet of vessels.  Built in 2000, the vessel formerly known as the Maersk Recorder, has previously been chartered by Global Marine for numerous cable installation projects and has since successfully completed work in the oil and gas and renewables sectors. The newly named CS Recorder is intended to support the telecoms installation business growth over the next 5-10 years, with a number of critical projects scheduled during 2018, 2019 and 2020.

CS Recorder will be equipped with a plough system and Remotely Operated Trenching Vehicle (ROV) to ensure it is fully prepared to undertake the full range of telecoms cable installation projects.

“The addition of this latest vessel to our fleet demonstrates our continuing commitment to ensuring the appropriate assets are available to meet our customers’ needs across the globe, and to our core business of telecoms cable installation, even in a market where the current trend is for assets to be relinquished, rather than added,” said Bruce Neilson-Watts, Managing Director, Telecoms at Global Marine.

The CS Recorder joins Global Marine’s current fleet of 25 vessels, which now consists of four maintenance vessels, (Cable Retriever, Pacific Guardian, Wave Sentinel, Cable Innovator); three installation vessels, (CS Recorder, C.S. Sovereign, Networker); and 18 CWind Crew Transfer Vessels. She replaces the Cable Innovator following her reassignment in the fourth quarter of 2016 to become a dedicated maintenance vessel for the North America Maintenance Zone (NAZ) submarine cable contract; a contract running through to the end of 2024. The CS Recorder is expected to be available for use in the fleet for installation projects at the end of the first quarter 2017.

Global Marine Systems Limited, the world leader in subsea cable system design, installation and maintenance, announced today that it has been awarded the renewal of the Atlantic Cable Maintenance Agreement (ACMA), alongside its Atlantic partner for maintenance services, Orange Marine.  The new contract began on January 1, 2017, and runs for five years, through to December 2021.

ACMA is a non-profit cooperative subsea maintenance agreement consisting of 60+ members.  ACMA members are companies responsible for the operations and maintenance of undersea communications and power cables, as well as Oil & Gas Platform operators, in the Atlantic, North Sea and South Eastern Pacific Ocean. Global Marine has delivered maintenance services across the Atlantic since the first cable was laid in the 19th century and has been a key supporter of ACMA since its inception in 1965.  Global Marine currently delivers maintenance support in three of the six zone agreements globally.

Global Marine’s dedicated maintenance vessels, the Wave Sentinel and Pacific Guardian, will be servicing ACMA17 from their respective bases in Portland, UK and Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles.  Both vessels are fitted with powerful remotely operated vehicles, the Atlas and ST200 series respectively, which offer flexible, effective solutions for monitoring, cutting and burying cable.

Global Marine has played a pioneering role in the development of undersea cable repair and maintenance solutions for well over a century, having performed approximately 33 percent of all maintenance operations on fibre optic cables globally.  The Company is a founding and current member of the Universal Joint Consortium, an international cross-industry body supporting the manufacturers and consumers of Universal Joint and Universal Coupling technology.  Global Marine remains at the forefront of this vital part of the industry through its well-renowned training school utilised by many of the key telecoms installation and maintenance companies and cable manufacturers around the world.

“We appreciate the confidence placed in us by the Atlantic Cable Maintenance Agreement members and look forward to ensuring that their cables are effectively protected,” said John Walters, Maintenance Director, Global Marine. “The resilience of communication networks throughout the Atlantic and Western South America is critically important to companies and consumers alike, and Global Marine is proud to again be of service to maintain these vital connections.”

Mr. Walters continued, “The contract award is again a vote of confidence in the zone model, where quality of service and vessel availability are the priority of customers and the service provider, and where members are able to participate in the development of the service offering for the future.”

“We trust the Global Marine and Orange Marine solution,” said Alasdair Wilkie, Chairman, ACMA.  “Over decades, the two companies have repeatedly demonstrated their pedigree and experience in this highly specialised area.”

Global Marine Systems Limited, a UK-based specialist in subsea cable engineering projects, announced today that it has secured a contract from Tampnet, a global leader in high capacity communications, who operates the largest offshore high capacity communication network in the world.  The contract, with work being undertaken in 2018 by one of the Company’s key installation vessels, is designed to further enhance inter oil-field communication networks in the North Sea. 

The project, which is the sixth contract award to Global Marine from Tampnet, focuses on the installation of a platform to platform fibre optic cable.  It will incorporate the laying and burial of approximately 75km of fibre optic cable from an existing Branching Unit (BU) to the platform.  In addition, a Cable End Module (CEM) and a further three BUs will be installed at selected locations along the route.  Prior to the installation, Global Marine will conduct a detailed marine route survey and burial assessment report providing comprehensive data that will deliver fundamental information, crucial to ensuring the successful installation of this project.

Subsea assets will be utilised to conduct cable burial to 1m below the seabed in a water depth of 75m.  A CEM will be installed within the platform 500m zone.  The installation of a CEM is not new to Global Marine, as the Company is well versed with the rigorous requirements in terms of seabed positioning as well as the lay tolerances required for precise deployment. Laying and burial of the fibre optic cable will commence upon successful installation of the CEM, towards an existing BU where a previously installed cable end will be recovered and the fibre optic cables jointed.  The scope of this project, including the buoying of cable ends, allows for future development of the system to other platforms in the North Sea if required.

“The award of this contract highlights the continued confidence Tampnet has in Global Marine,” says Mikkel Gleerup, Director, Sales & Commercial at Global Marine. “Having seen a slowdown in development in the oil and gas market recently, this contract shows the key advantages of investment in fibre to platforms and allows Global Marine to continually demonstrate its expert skills in this type of specialised installation.  It is a testament to the proven capabilities of our marine installation vessel, crew and equipment and we are happy to be working with Tampnet again on this exciting project.”

Tampnet’s CEO Per Helge Svensson added, “Tampnet is very pleased to enter into a new subsea installation contract with Global Marine. Over the last few years, we have completed several subsea fibre cable projects where Global Marine has been the supplier of the subsea installation work.  The previous projects were very successful and we are confident that the current work to be performed by Global Marine will be according to the highest standards, making sure that our extensive quality requirements for continued robustness of our infrastructure is met.”

Although there have been power cables in the marine environment for many decades, there have been relatively few in number until fairly recently. Those that exist are predominately national or short haul international cables, and in terms of total kilometres are rather limited. Certainly this is the case when compared with telecoms cables, which have traditionally numbered hundreds of thousands of kilometres laid on the sea bed. As a result, the repair of power cables has very much been a niche market revolving around securing and mobilising VOOs (vessels of opportunity) or framework agreements, the latter mostly with the original cable installer/manufacturer and their specialist repair assets.

The financing of these repairs has always rested with the insurance industry, which because of the relative limited number of cables and faults, has been a model that has proved suitable for the majority of parties. However, with increasing awareness of climate change and the subsequent desire for more renewable and cleaner power sources, there has been a big push (particularly in the European region) for the development of large amounts of offshore wind capacity. This has led to a significant increase in power cable sea bed kilometres to service and connect wind farms to their respective national grids. In the European region specifically, there has also been an increase in the number of international links, to more effectively harness and transmit electricity around the various power markets.

The upshot is an increased risk profile for power cables, and correspondingly more faults, whether from manufacturing or from third party aggression. As a consequence, there has been a marked increase in the number of insurance claims.

The increased cost of liability has led insurers and some national/regional government bodies to look at ways of reducing costs and strengthening the supply chain. A further aim is to enable a more rapid and streamlined response times – insurance-based repair models normally incur a significant delay (months) between the fault occurring and a repair being undertaken.

Power cable repairs costs are frequently in the multiple of millions. This level of expenditure is understandable as such projects necessitate the diversion of a dedicated specialist installation vessel from its existing activities, and more often than not, sail it from a distant global location. Additionally, depending on the installation equipment already mobilised on board, it may be necessary to have a period of reconfiguration prior to commencing the power cable repair. Alternatively, the deployment of a VOO means having to locate and mobilise all the specialist equipment, such as chutes, tensioners, compatible jointers and jointing equipment (as well as some form of cable storage arrangement), prior to sailing.

Correspondingly, everything has to be totally demobbed after the operation, with these activities requiring the cable owner or insurer to cover the cost of the VOO while this takes place, which could cost anywhere between £65,000 and £150,000 per day. Assuming a seven-day mobilisation/configuration, and corresponding demobilisation, the pre- and post-operational activities can cost anywhere from £0.91 million to £2.1 million, even before sailing to the fault site and undertaking any survey/inspection or repair activity.

These costs do not even consider the cost of service interruption; this was calculated for a 300MW UK windfarm in November 2014 by Transmission Investments LLP to be in the region of £3 million to £12 million per month depending on the number of export cables available for transmission back to the grid. In this instance, the higher figure is where there is only one export cable servicing the wind farm, while the lower figure represents two cables.

Traditionally, telecom agreements (in particular maintenance zones), have a vessel or vessels on standby close to the specific regions known to have high fault rates, and are usually able to sail for cable repair within 24/36 hours of being called out. It is this preparation, localisation and cost effectiveness that the UK’s OFGEM, along with the support of some of the larger UK’s OFTO’s (Offshore Transmission Operators), wishes to replicate for all the UK’s offshore wind farm export cables, national links and inter-connectors. It is estimated that there will be around 20,000km of power cable installed in northern European waters by 2030, which means that there are likely to be between 10 and 40 large cable repair projects in the North Sea per year by that date.

Global Marine Systems Ltd, the world leader in subsea system design, installation and maintenance, has presented a cheque for nearly £16,000 to national children’s charity, Brainwave. Approximately half of the donation was raised following a two-day show of pedalling power by 18 employees who cycled 210 miles from Global Marine’s headquarters in Chelmsford, Essex, to the company’s cable storage depot in Portland, Dorset.

Through a series of sponsored activities over the past 12 months including the Great East Swim, raffles and cookery challenges, Global Marine has been diligently raising much-needed funds for Brainwave, and in October 2016 was delighted to present the charity with a cheque for £15,789.76.

The bike ride in August provided £8,534.68 of that total. Setting off from Chelmsford and travelling through London, the team of 18 stopped in Winchester, Hampshire for an overnight stop, before finally finishing in Portland the following evening.

A number of Global Marine’s suppliers and other local businesses kindly sponsored this impressive cycling feat, including Ben Line Agencies, Bollington Insurance, CSCC, Healeys, Keller, L&R Midland, Meachers, The New London Restaurant, Prysmian Group, Quadrant Equipment, Sainsbury’s Springfield, SMD, SSI Energy, Sumitomo and Willis Towers Watson.

With a centre located in Witham, just a few miles from Global Marine’s Chelmsford base, Brainwave aims to improve mobility, communication skills and learning potential through a range of therapies for children with physical, sensory, learning, cognitive and behavioural difficulties.

Moving forward, Global Marine is already planning more initiatives to help raise money for this worthy cause, including a 200,000m two-day indoor rowing challenge, a fantasy football league and Santa dash. Company employees also have the opportunity to donate through their monthly salaries.