Alcatel Submarine Networks’ fleet upgraded to latest technology with iXblue’s Oceano HD15 Cable Lay acoustic releases

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A successful 20-year history with iXblue’s Oceano acoustic releases

It has already been 20 years since Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), a leader in the manufacturing and installation of underwater optical systems, has chosen iXblue to equip its fleet of 6 cable ships, managed by Louis-Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA). With two releasers per ship, ASN owns as many as 23 iXblue Oceano acoustic releases, to help deploy equipment underwater, whether in shallow waters or on the continental shelf. Their main advantages are their reliability, extreme resistance to corrosion and ease of use.

Today, 20 years after first acquisition, ASN has decided to upgrade to the latest generation of Oceano Series to take advantage of its brand-new features. Moreover, following the purchase of 2 new vessels in 2021, ASN has completed its pool of equipment with 2 additional Oceano acoustic releases. Further to several months of development and qualification, the new design now integrates a full positive drive-off release mechanism to provide even more reliability and efficiency for cable laying operations.

The Ile de Molène vessel acquired by ASN in 2021. Ile de Molène is assigned to the maintenance of telecommunications cables in the Atlantic and North Sea.

iXblue’s Oceano Series: a material of choice for cable ship activities

Installing a submarine transmission cable is a costly and challenging activity, and so are the technical interventions for its repairing in case of faults. These operations can be even more difficult, depending on the type of the cable, the complexity of the cable configuration, the depth and properties of the seafloor. Therefore, a successful submarine cable installation requires a carefully selected and integrated assembly of reliable vessels, crews, and auxiliary equipment, such as acoustic instrument.

“In case of malfunction of the acoustic release system, cable-laying operations can become dangerous and time-consuming: loads must be retrieved without knowing whether they are properly attached or not. The risk of mishandling and random releases at any time can devastate a cabling campaign, resulting in a big loss of time and money” warns Augustin Vandenhove, Offshore Solution Manager at LDA for ASN. “This is why we decided to switch to new Oceano HD15 Cable Lay acoustic releases, which we are fully satisfied with. They are extremely reliable and safe as well as easy to use. They work now with 100% efficiency, successfully releasing on the first try every time, which is outstanding.”

Specially designed and customized for use in cable laying and maintenance operations, but also for offshore marine construction operations, iXblue’s Oceano HD15 Cable Lay acoustic releases can deploy payloads up to 10 tons. Highly robust and accurate, this heavy-duty unit uses the well-proved secure, low frequency acoustic command code structure for reliable deep-sea operations, at depths up to 6000 meters. It comprises the well-proven and reliable AR861 series acoustic actuator fitted with a compact stainless-steel frame to pass over rollers and davit under tension, which not only ensures efficient, reliable and safety releases, but also allows to overcome the challenges posed by concretion or biological deposits.

iXblue Oceano HD15 Cable Lay acoustic release.

ASN and iXblue both committed to the development of innovative technologies in marine and underwater fields

The retrofit campaign of these acoustic releases reinforces the relationship of trust that has been established between ASN and iXblue over the past years. In 2021, ASN and iXblue had already joined their forces within the AMSSI (Agora for Maritime & Submarine Sustainable Innovations), to develop innovative technologies adapted and respectful of the underwater environment.

This partnership, along with their trusted business relationship, hold the promise of leading to many more successful marine and subsea projects.