Cable damage prompts discussion on back up options

POSTED: 09/28/11 11:49 AM

St. Maarten– Telem Group expects to complete repairs on a section of its SMPR-1underwater cable and restore connections by Wednesday after a repair team arrived on Monday aboard the Pacific Guardian. The cable was damaged earlier this month by an unidentified vessel’s anchor earlier this month. The damage knocked out all international voice and internet data links between St. Maarten and the outside world for several hours.

Pacific Guardian’s captain and crew – a repair team from Global Marine that is affiliated with  the Atlantic Cable Repair and Maintenance Agreement (ACMA) – met TelEm Group’s Chief Technical Officer Eldert Louisa and other TelEm Group personnel on Monday to plot a course of action. They agreed they would deploy state-of-the-art submersible equipment to locate the section of damaged cable. That part would then be brought to the ship for splicing, which can take 16 hours.

“As a member of ACMA we have been able to utilize this well-equipped vessel and skilled crew to carry out the cable repairs in a lot less time than we originally thought possible,” Louisa stated in a press release.

Engineer Jed Carty and International Customer Relations Officer, Chet Euton were charged with overseeing the day to day operation on behalf of TelEm Group on board the Pacific Guardian. A third colleague Alberto Carty flew to Puerto Rico to oversee the reconnection at that end.

Damage to the SMPR-1 cable prompted a discussion within the Telem Group on new investments in cable redundancy options, with particular focus on how funds can be made available to provide for such redundancy and how all stakeholders on the island can play their part.

“Considering the importance of the SMPR-1 to the economy of St. Maarten, it is clear that we have to talk about shared funding and the participation of all stakeholders in the additional redundancy required for the island,” TelEm Group’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Helma Etnel said shortly after the extent of the cable damage was first realized.


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