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Global Marine helps to get Asia back online after Taiwanese earthquake

Vessels now working around the clock to repair damaged telecommunications networks

Chelmsford, UK: Global Marine Systems Limited, the independent market-leading subsea cable installation and maintenance company, is playing a pivotal role in restoring vital telecommunications networks in Asia after an offshore earthquake on 26 December caused the largest outage of telephone and Internet services in recent memory.

Measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale, the earthquake damaged the subsea fibre-optic cables which facilitate communications between the mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the USA, Southeast Asia and Europe. Millions of people have experienced severe disruption in accessing websites and international dialing facilities are also affected. Mainland service providers fear it will be mid-January before the damage can be fully repaired.

Global Marine vessels, CS Cable Retriever based in the Philippines and CS Wave Mercury from Shanghai mobilized immediately to Taiwan to support the work. In addition, Global Marine’s JV partner SBSS (SB Submarine Systems) based in Shanghai, made the cableship ship Fu Hai available to carry out repair work in support of the major telco’s affected by the disaster.

“The number of simultaneous cable failures was unprecedented and we made every effort to get Global Marine and our partners ships to the region to quickly start repairing the damage and restoring network facilities to South East Asia,” comments Global Marine’s Asia Director Ian Douglas. “We were particularly pleased that SBSS was able to provide repairs services to key customers even though the contracted maintenance stand-by period had ended.”

“The telcos in the region rely on our ability to address cable faults quickly and efficiently. We are fortunate to have available the Fu Hai which has completed its six months duties in the maintenance but is still available during January to continue carrying out these emergency repairs prior to commencing another commercial project.” Mr. Douglas continues.

Some of the cables are trapped under the seabed and others are tangled, making repairs exceptionally difficult. The ruptures are more than 3300m below sea level well beyond the reach of the Remotely Operated Vehicles which are commonly used in such projects. Instead, the traditional recovery method of using grapnels are being utilised for this operation; grapnels are used to pick up cables from the seabed by being dragged from side to side across the path of the cable until it can be hooked and lifted to the surface for repair on board.

“But this does highlight the vulnerability of our global communications network and the extent to which we rely on it.” said Gabriel Ruhan, CEO of Global Marine. “This was a significant earthquake, and we are glad we had vessels in the area which could so quickly be brought in to assist in the recovery and repair."

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Notes to Editors:

For more information please contact:

Kathryn Hughes
hbl media
Tel: +44 (0) 207 612 1830

Deborah Bartlett
Marketing & Communications
Global Marine Systems Limited
Tel: +44 (0) 1245 702105

Additional information for editors:

About Global Marine
Global Marine, an independent marine engineering company, has been in business for well over 150 years and continues to be the pre-eminent provider of submarine cable installation and maintenance services in the world. Operating the world's largest fleet of cable ships and subsea vehicles, it is a market leader in marine cable installation and maintenance for telecommunications, as well as scientific research, oil, gas, utilities and the renewable energy sector.

Global Marine is headquartered in the United Kingdom with regional offices in the United States and Asia. The company has established strategic alliances with several of the industry’s leading companies and has successful Joint Ventures and partnerships with SBSS in China (China Telecom), NTTWE Marine in Japan (NTT) and ICPL in Singapore (SingTel and ACPL).

Global Marine has installed more undersea fibre optic cables than any other operator, and more than 50% of the world’s buried fibre-optic cables have been installed by Global Marine. And between 30 and 40% of all subsea cables repairs and maintenance are undertaken by the company.

In May 2006, Global Marine and its Japanese joint venture partner, NTT World Engineering Marine (NTTWEM), completed a seismic cable repair for the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) off the Muroto Cape and in December 2006, successfully installed South Korea’s first deep sea ocean observatory system to help detect high levels of seismic activity.

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About SBSS

S.B Submarine Systems is based in Shanghai and has been providing installation and maintenance services to the submarine cable industry since formation in 1995. S.B.S.S currently provides maintenance to the major Telco’s in the Asia Pacific Region through the Yokohama Zone Maintenance Agreement. The company has installed over 25,000kms of telecoms cable and leads the industry in the application of 3 metre plough burial. In 2005 S.B.S.S undertook the installation of SMW4 and has also played a significant ole in the installation of the TATA system (2004), TIS (2003), APCN2, China-US and a host of other major international submarine projects. Since 2002 SBSS has employed its expertise in the oil and gas industry which now accounts for over a third of the company’s revenue.

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