Cable ship in Admiralty Inlet piques curiosity

The Wave Venture has been working in Admiralty Inlet repairing fiber optic cables. - Nathan Whalen photo
The Wave Venture has been working in Admiralty Inlet repairing fiber optic cables.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen photo

A large ship floating for more than a week near the Coupeville-to-Port Townsend ferry route piqued the curiosity of nearby residents.

It turns out the Wave Venture, a 464-foot vessel owned by United Kingdom-based Global Marine Systems, has been sailing in the area while its crew repair fiber optic cables.

Raymond Loe, who lives in the Teronda West area on Central Whidbey, said he noticed the vessel about a week-and-a-half ago.

He said the ship sparked his curiosity as he and his wife would watch the Wave Venture and several smaller tugs work in the area day and night.

Anne Leboutillier, head of marketing for Global Marine Systems, said there are several reasons a break in a cable line can occur. Such breaks can be caused by a ship’s anchor, fishing trawlers or severe weather.

Eighty percent of cable faults are caused by fishing and shipping activities, according to information provided by Global Marine Systems. Remaining breaks are caused by natural phenomena such as earthquakes, waves and sea currents.

Crews can use remote operated vehicles to search and help find a break in the cable and cut the area of the cable to bring it back to the ship so repairs can be made to the ship, Leboutillier said.

During the repair work, she said the depth of the inlet in the area, the speed of the currents and tidal conditions posed problems for repair work.

“It sounds likes it’s been a very challenging repair,” Leboutillier said.

Roe said the Wave Venture sailed from Admiralty Inlet on Thursday evening.

Admiralty Inlet in the area between Fort Casey State Park on Whidbey and Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula has been a difficult route for Washington State Ferries.

The fast moving currents make the entry into Keystone Harbor difficult. When the old Steel Electric ferries were operating on the route, groundings were known to occur.

The Wave Venture’s work repairing the fiber optic lines is important. Leboutillier said that 98 percent of the world’s communication is transmitted through fiber optic cables. That information includes financial and corporate information, social media and telephone calls.

Global Marine Services has a 160-year history of working with telecommunications, oil, gas and energy industries. The company manages a worldwide fleet of cable repair vessels.


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