Cable Innovator – A Powerful Cable Launching Ship

Cable Innovator in an innovative cable launcher ship for laying optical cable fibers on the sea bed. This 10,557dwt ship was built in 1995 by Kvaerner Masa of Finland and is still making news for its unique work. The cable laying works are carried out in an efficient and speedy manner and all the cable laying is done over the stern so as to not slow down the ship.

Cable innovator is powered by five Wartsila Vasa diesel engines, three 9R32E units of 3645 kW. Each of these units further powers a 4160 kVA/60Hz 13.3 kV ABB AC generator and two 6R22/26 machines of 975kW.

The total power produced from this assembly is around 12.8MW that makes Cable Innovator for sustained work over long distances, and under the harshest of the conditions. Of all the power produced, a total of 5.3 MW power is available at the vessel’s single main propeller powered by motors.

At the bow, further a White Gill jet thruster of 2000 kW and a tunnel thruster of 1200 kW has been installed for extra power source. Two tunnel thrusters have also been located at the stern which can provide 24t transverse thrust. The Cable Innovator sans a rudder is controlled in various modes with help of Cegelec 902, made from a manual joystick. This allows keeping track of ship’s movements at all times. The control of ship is looked in by SPARC computer located in the master console. This single system can supervise everything from thrusters, main propulsion motors, power systems, navigational systems and position measurement.

The computer and joystick system also allows the ship to interact with remote joystick stations and gyrocompass. Other navigation features on the ship include multiple GPS and SATCOM facilities along with navigational and bathymetry equipment for both shallow and deep water have been installed to make this ship self sufficient. The latest technology has been installed to upgrade the efficiency of its working.

The system of equipments on the ship helps to pool and display the data whenever needed. This becomes exceptionally useful during operations of cable-laying. The cable system has been provided with an alarm to indicate any discrepancy in cable tension or ship speed.

The communication arrangement in Cable innovator includes Inmarsat B&C and Vsat KU band. All the handling equipment is located on a 21-wheel pair linear cable-engine (LCE) and a 4cm diameter electrically driven cable drum. The cable drum is responsible for controlling the cable lay. It has a maximum volume of 4874 cubic meter and a maximum of 8500 ton load. There is also a hydraulically activated traversing cable deflector and a two deck head mounted single wheel pair of cable transporters. They help in traversing the cable lines being laid.

The instrumentations systems on the ship are both conventional and computerized. There is a 35 ton SWL A-frame with working arc that provides a 45⁰ outboard and 45⁰ inboard angle to handle the plough during burying the cable in the seabed. Two 10 ton SWL buoys have also been provided, along with one 5 ton SWL stores crane forward and one 2 ton SWL stores crane forward.

The total crew of the ship looks into functional operations and smooth running of the ship at all times. This crew is accommodated in a total of 80 cabins which include 42 officer cabins, 36 crew cabins and two representative suites. The ship also includes office suites and conference facilities. These facilities serve the best of accommodation purpose for up to 42-60 days, normal endurance period of the ship on the water.

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  1. I remeber the vessel well. I sailed on her as an engineer around 9 or 10 months after she was put into service with Cable & Wireless Marine.

    The stern working solution was a real change from the historical bow working set-up of most cable ships and really did benefit the working environment, especially for the poor souls on deck duiring the bad weather.

    I left in 1997 just before Global took over and also before the big slump in cable work. It was sad to see so many coleagues being made redundant and the inactivity of some great cable ships. The Innovator was a great leap forward in cable operations and brought together some good technology and control to cable repair and laying. I think my favoute trip on her was when we laid a cable from Australia to indonesia and went right past Krakatoa as she was blowing lava high into the air. The cable just sank into the seabed due to the fine ash makeup from the Volcano.

  2. @ John Gouch Thanks for sharing your experience. The trip to Australia – Indonesia must be a memorable one for you as it is very rare to pass a blowing Volcano!! Amazing.

  3. The old cut and run…whenever the weather turned to shit they were the first to bail out and leave the other boats to pick up the slack…and clean up the oil spills!

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