For decades, ships owned by French phone carrier Orange SA have traveled the world’s oceans, installing and fixing the undersea cables that carry internet traffic from one continent to another.
The fleet of six cable ships run by Orange Marine is now looking to diversify, even with the biggest investment boom for the infrastructure since the 1990s. Instead of creating more business, the new high capacity lines being financed by the tech giants are expected to put older cables out of service, meaning less work for the seaborne repairmen.
One cable that started up last year highlights the issue. The line, running from the U.S. state of Virginia to Sopelana, Spain, accounts for half the capacity of the dozen or so trans Atlantic cables. Known as Marea, the 4,101-mile link owned by Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Telefonica SA’s Telxius offers the fastest data transmission speeds in the world.
Orange Marine is a small yet profitable business for France’s dominant phone carrier, generating about 100 million euros ($112 million) of annual sales out of Orange’s roughly 41 billion euros of revenue. But it’s considered a strategic asset by the company, whose largest shareholder is the French state.
Orange Marine operates six cable ships out of its marine bases or foreign ports which includes the 1983 French built and flagged 115 m long cable layer RAYMOND CROZE with IMO as 8104199.
Above images are whilst berthed at Deep Water Quay (DWQ) 4, Valletta, Malta back to Wednesday 2nd November 2011.
The 2002 South Korean built FRA flag 144 m long cable layer RENE DESCARTES with IMO as 9248100.
Above images are whilst vessel is entering Valletta, Malta back to Friday 8th February 2013.
The 1996 Italian built and ITA flag 110 m long cable layer TELIRI with IMO as 9105889.
Above images are offshore Pantelleria, Italy are back to Saturday 3rd October 2009.
The 1983 French built MUS flag and 118 m long cable layer LEON THEVENIN with IMO as 8108676. She’s identical to RAYMOND CROZE
The 2014 Norwegian built FRA flag 100 m long cable layer PIERRE DE FERMAT with IMO as 9694505.
The 1987 Spanish built ITA flag 116 m long cable layer ANTONIO MEUCCI with IMO as 8506062.
Above images are at Catania Port, Sicily, Italy back to Tuesday 8th May 2018.
Together, Orange Marine and its France-based competitor at Nokia Oyj, Alcatel Submarine Networks, own about one-quarter of the 40 or so ships focused on subsea cables globally.
Photos by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos – www.maltashipphotos.com