On 18 April 2011, a failure occurred in the NorNed dual-core FMI power cable. This was caused by a cable fault located 300 metres from the Dutch coast, near Eemshaven. The client's initial expectations were that repairs would take approximately ten weeks. VBMS was subcontracted by the main contractor, ABB, to restore the HVDC link between Norway and the Netherlands.
The repair barge Fetsy L was mobilised within a week of VBMS being contacted by ABB. Thanks to our in-house engineering and the fact that we own specialised equipment for cable repairs, VBMS was able to mobilise its repair spreads at short notice. On account of the experience we had gained working on previous projects and good collaboration with ABB, the contract negotiations, engineering and barge mobilisation were concluded in just four weeks. Once onsite, VBMS raised the faulty cable section, assisted by the fault localisation, removed the defective cable and installed 300 m of new HVDC cable and fibre optic. ABB made two joints from on board the repair barge. After jointing, the cable was re-deployed on the seabed and recommissioned on the 4 June 2011, after which the repaired cable section was reburied.
In addition to engineering and project management, VBMS handled the permit liaisons and contacted the relevant authorities. VBMS was faced with various challenges during the project. This was, after all, the Wadden Sea, with its strong currents, shallow waters and environmentally sensitive areas. Also, the nearby outfall construction and shipping lane complicated the marine repair operation. Despite these challenges, VBMS delivered the project on time and to the complete satisfaction of ABB and NorNed. In fact, the project was completed two days ahead of its own schedule and three weeks prior to the ten weeks which had been anticipated beforehand.
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